Italy’s coronavirus death toll passes 10,000

Italy’s coronavirus death toll passes 10,000
Source: RTHK

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Italy officially passed the 10,000 mark with 10,023 fatalities reported as of March 28.

The total number of cases in Italy is officially reported to be 92,472. The lockdown order in the country would likely be extended.

On March 31, the country’s flags will be flown at half-mast to commemorate those who have lost their lives as a result of the virus.

EU leaders clash over economic response to coronavirus

The European Union is divided on how to provide financial assistance to the European countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, including Spain and Italy.

EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not agree to an EU proposal to issue a shared debt, referred to as “coronabonds.”

Leaders from the Netherlands and Austria joined Germany in declining the proposal, which would have raised the long-term finances for all member states in order to pay for the measure.

The three wealthy European nations fear that the issuance of debt at the EU level would unfairly burden their taxpayers by underwriting the spending of poorer member states.

The proposed coronabonds would increase healthcare spending and have the potential to lift member states out of a recession.

“We made clear from the German side, but also others did as well, that this is not the opinion of all states," Merkel said in reference to a conference call on March 26 to discuss the coronabonds proposal.

France was also against the coronabonds proposal due to the stress it would place on other nations currently facing a coronavirus outbreak.

EU finance leaders are expected to present other proposals within the next couple of weeks.

Previously, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a quantitative ease to buy European bonds worth US$818 billion (€750 billion) in a new program called The Pandemic Asset Purchase Program.

The entire Eurozone is predicted to fall into recession in the coming months.

Lack of solidarity infuriates Italy

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was unhappy with the outcome of the meeting as none of the EU members had come up with a solution to the economic crisis brought on by the deadly virus.

Conte says that the EU could lose its purpose if it does not coordinate an effective strategy to tackle the coronavirus threat to the Italian economy.
“If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, the whole European structure loses its raison d’etre (reason for existing) to the people," Conte told the Il Sole 24 Ore financial newspaper.


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