COVID-19 European Bulletin 3

COVID-19 Update

EU statistics show that between 31st December 21st April, 2,431,890 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, including 169 859 deaths.

In Europe there have been 1,073,947 reported cases; the five countries reporting the highest number of cases are Spain (200,210), Italy (181,228), Germany (143,457), the UK (124,743) and France (114,657).

Figures from Johns Hopkins University (21st April) reveal stark variations in the mortality rate (deaths per 100 confirmed cases) across western Europe’s major economic powers:

Italy and UK – 13.4%

France – 13.1%

Spain – 10.4%

Germany – 3.4%

 

Happened

Monday 13th April

With the United States the epicentre of the pandemic, President Donald Trump plans a council to “reopen America”

Tuesday 14th April

The global death toll from the coronavirus passes 120,000, with over 1.9 million confirmed cases. The US is the country with easily the highest number of cases (over 587,000) and also has the highest death toll (24,000).

In one US state, New York, the death toll passes 10,000, with total confirmed cases approaching 200,000, with over half in New York City.

Statistics from New York City reveal the disproportionate impact on Latinos and black Americans, accounting for 34% and 28% of NYC’s COVID deaths respectively.

US President Donald Trump announces that he will cut US funding of the World Health Organisation.  Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical journal, called Trump’s decision a “crime against humanity.” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers will challenge the “illegal” decision.

Wednesday 15th April

NATO defence ministers meet for an extraordinary meeting via video link. In the subsequent press conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejects the idea of NATO’s priorities being realigned to reflect the disruptive ability of the pandemic: “NATO has to adapt. NATO has to change. But I don’t think that NATO should go into and be…the first responder, or the main responder to a health crisis”.

Germany announces it will ease lockdown. Chancellor Angela Merkel called Germany’s progress a “fragile intermediate success” and said shops will reopen on the week commencing 20th April and schools from May 4th.

France sees a record rise of 1,438 deaths, as nursing homes report cumulative tolls following the three-day Easter weekend.

Thursday 16th April

China’s capital Beijing seeing new local cases rise for the first time in more than three weeks, with locally transmitted cases rising.

South Korea. President Moon Jae-in’s ruling party secure a landslide win in parliamentary elections, helped by perceived success in the country’s handling of the coronavirus.

Ukraine. The COVID-19 crisis stimulates a development in the Ukraine conflict, with a prisoners of war exchange, reported on Tactics Institute’s website.

Italy. https://www.imf.org/en/Topics/imf-and-covid19/Policy-Responses-to-COVID-19#I

UK. Lockdown is extended for three weeks.

Friday 17th April

France. A staggered return to education for students, beginning on 11th May, is announced.

Saturday 18th April

Spain. Death toll passes 20,000, with 191,726 COVID cases.

Sunday 19th April

Spain. Country records lowest daily death toll in a month, with 410.

Monday 20th April

The UN launched an urgent appeal for $350 million to support global aid hubs in providing help for some of the world’s most vulnerable people during the pandemic.  

Italy reports its first drop in total number of coronavirus sufferers since the country’s first infection was recorded in February.

Wednesday 22nd April

UK Parliament. New leader of opposition, Sir Keir Starmer faces prime minister Boris Johnson’s deputy, Dominic Raab, at Prime Minister’s Questions in an exchange that suggested that Labour’s policy will be to offer to cooperate while holding the Conservative government to account on COVID testing targets that are likely to be missed. 

Happening

Thursday 23rd April

EU. State leaders to meet at a videoconference to discuss the crisis.

Human Trials on coronavirus vaccine to begin in the UK.

Economic Impact Bulletin

Growth Forecast. The IMF, working on the assumption that the global pandemic and required containment peaks in the second quarter and recedes in the second half of 2020, projects global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 percent. This marks a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points from January 2020, the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

Oil. On 12th April, OPEC and its partners agreed to cut 9.7m barrels a day from the market in May and June, equivalent to about 10% of global supply. Demand has plummeted. For the first time in history on Monday, April 20, oil futures broke into negative territory. On 21st April, Brent crude dropped below $20 per barrel for first time in 18 years after the West Texas intermediate crashed.

The ECB is ready to issue 1.1 trillion euros in sovereign bonds, but on Wednesday 22nd April 22, ECB President Christine Lagarde is not entertaining calls for mutualised debt or the monetisation of state debt. The size of the Eurozone monetary response is half the size of that announced by the US Federal Reserve.

The IMF expects debt in the 19 countries sharing the euro to jump by more than 13% of GDP to 97% in 2020. Interest on bonds of already highly indebted Italy, Spain, Greece or Portugal is up by only 40-50 bps The IMF sees Greek debt rocketing almost 22 points to 200% of GDP this year, Italian almost 21 points to 156% and Spanish 18 points to more than 113%. France, Portugal and Belgium will also be badly hit.

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