Italy is officially in lockdown. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy be closed down by restrictions from North to South. The entire country will be covered by restrictions.
All travel are banned unless justified on professional or health reason. Big Italian cities are deserted, families are separated and the bormal life will take days or months to recover from COVID-19. Italian social life is on hold after the first day of lockdown.
I stay at home to fight Coronavirus! Giuseppe Conte
Il Paese ha bisogno della responsabilità di ognuno di voi, ha bisogno di sessanta milioni di piccoli grandi sacrifici. Ognuno di noi ha bisogno dell’altro. Rimaniamo distanti oggi per abbracciarci con più calore e per correre insieme più veloci domani. Ce la faremo.
Italy death toll from Coronavirus outbreak rises to 827 from 631 cases soar to 12,462.
Coronavirus What measures are EU countries taking to stop it?
Countries around the world are taking different measures to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. In Europe Italy is suffering and an expert mission has already taken place in Italian cities. Europe needs to control the spread of the virus, coordinate response measures, accelerate research on treatment, on diagnosis, on vaccines. Of course EU needs to control the impact on the European Economy.
USA suspends travel from Europe
President Trump said he would be suspending all travel from Europe for the next 30 days starting Friday. The restrictions will not apply to Britain.
During EU leaders’ videoconference on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission received a mandate to further step up its response to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 outbreak, on all fronts and coordinate Member State actions. The crisis we face because of Coronavirus has both a very significant human dimension, and a potentially major economic impact. It is therefore essential that we act decisively and collectively, to contain the spread of the virus and help patients, and to counter the economic fallout.
After the videoconference, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said:
Let me be very clear: The Commission is working flat out on both fronts.
The Commission will play its full part with no delay. I am working on the following measures to support Member States in their efforts. Ursula von der Leyen
The European Commission will, in a daily phone conference with the Health Ministers and the Ministers of Internal Affairs, coordinate the necessary measures.
Secondly, the Commission will assemble a team of epidemiologists and virologists from different Member States to give us guidelines on the European level.
The European Commission is now taking stock of the available protective equipment and respiratory devices as well as their production and distribution capacity. Those are crucial for the entire health sector.
On research and development, we will reinforce the European initiative to fund targeted research on the Coronavirus.
We have mobilised €140 million of public and private funding for promising research on vaccines, diagnosis and treatment.
The COVID-19 outbreak is having a major impact on the international and European aviation industry. The situation is deteriorating on a daily basis. Traffic is expected to decline further in the coming weeks.
The Commission will shortly adopt a proposal to amend the EU Slot Regulation. An airport slot is the right of an aircraft to take off or land at a congested airport at a certain time of day. Under the EU Airport Slots Regulation (EEC 95/93), airlines are subject to a ‘use it or lose it’ rule, and are required to operate 80% of their allocated slots, or face losing their right to the slot in future seasons.
On the economic front:
First and foremost, we must act at the macro-economic level. European Commission will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure the European economy weathers this storm. This requires coordination between Member States, the Commission and the ECB. I am comforted that leaders have called for such a coordinated strategy.
EU will make sure that state aid can flow to companies that need it;
Secondly, EU will make full use of the flexibility which exists in the Stability and Growth Pact;
EU President von der Leyen promised to come with concrete ideas before the Eurogroup on Monday. So on both these fronts, EU will clarify the rules of the game for Member States very quickly.
Finally, EU will bring forward a “Corona Response Investment Initiative” directed at
the health care systems,
and other vulnerable parts of our economies.
The investment will be sizable and reach €25 billion quickly. To realise this, Ursula von der Leyen will propose to Council and Parliament this week to release €7.5 billion of investment liquidity. European Commission will set up a Task Force to work with Member States to ensure that the money starts flowing in the coming weeks.
Corona Response Investment Initiative
In order to quickly direct €25 billion of European public investment to deal with the fallout of the Coronavirus crisis, the Commission will propose to relinquish this year its obligation to request refunding of unspent pre-financing for European structural and investment funds currently held by Member States.
The Member States will be required to use these amounts to speed up their investments under the structural funds. They will use this for the national co-financing they would normally have had to provide themselves in order to receive the next tranches of their structural fund envelopes. In view of the average co-financing rates across Member States, the €7.5 billion will be able to trigger the release and use of some €17.5 – €18 billion of structural funding across the EU.
This proposal can be implemented through a modification of the common provision regulation for the structural funds. The Commission will make this proposal to Council and Parliament this week. The national operational programmes would then be adapted, where necessary, to channel the funding towards areas such as short-term work measures, the health sector, labour market measures, and sectors particularly affected in the current circumstances.
Video conference, how to coordinate EU efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. 10 March 2020
Member states expressed sympathy with Italy and other member states that are severely hit.
During the meeting, information and practices were exchanged and 4 priorities identified.
1) Limiting the spread of the virus. Member states agreed that our citizens’ health is the first priority, and that measures should be based on science and medical advice. Measures need to be proportional so that they do not have excessive consequences for our societies as a whole. The leaders further agreed that on this point they will share all relevant information through existing coordination mechanisms.
2) Provision of medical equipment. Agreement to task the Commission with analysing the needs and to come up with initiatives to prevent shortages. The Commission informed that it will continue its engagement with the industry and pursue joint public procurements. Moreover, the Commission intends to purchase personal protective equipment through the Civil Protection Framework – RescEU. It must be ensured that the Internal market functions properly and any unjustified obstacles are avoided. Particular attention must be given to masks and respirators.
3) Promotion research, including for a vaccine. The Member states stressed the importance of reinforcing efforts on research. The Commission has already mobilised EUR 140 million of funds and selected 17 projects to do this.
4) Tackling socio-economic consequences. The Union and its member states, we stand ready to make use of all instruments that are necessary. In particular we will address any impact on liquidity, on support for SME’s and specific affected sectors, and their employees. Flexible application of EU rules in particular as regard State aid and Stability and Growth Pact will be needed.