Némi európai-s világ kitekintéssel meg kívánom itt említeni, hogy előre láthatóan nem igen tudok külhonba utazni idén, továbbá semmiképp sem akarok külföldre menni, mindaddig, amíg a mindenki által elérhető oltóanyag nem áll itthon is rendelkezésre, illetve mindaddig, amíg nincs hatékony gyógyszeres kezelés kialakítva a világjárványt okozó vírus elleni védelemre.
"Maradj otthon!"- visszhangzott még nemrég szerte e hazában. Maradj itthon! - mondanám továbbra azoknak, akik turistaként neki kívánnának szokott módon indulni ezen a nyáron is a nagyvilágnak, amint tehetik, mert hát csalogatóan nyílnak egyes országhatárok.
'Mindenütt találkozhatsz magyarral' - szólt a szokott frázis, közemberekről, az előző években, évtizedekben, akár kóborló kedvű tehetősebbekről vagy pénztelenebbekről, akár munkavállalókról volt légyen szó.
De most maradj itthon mégis, "lendítsd fel" a hazai turizmust, ha teheted, vagy legalább térj haza majd nyári kintlétedből az országba úgy, hogy számolni tudjunk sorsunkkal - tervezni - együtt, ami egyik közös dolgunkat illeti.
Mert szakemberek szerint előre láthatólag lesz ennek a járványnak ősszel egy második szakasza - amint ennek az összeállításnak a végén is láthatod, az Egészségügyi Világszervezet (WHO) európai felelős szakemberének sincs kétsége afelől, hogy LESZ.
És abban az esetben, ha nem tartózkodtál idén nyáron végig itthon, úgy - ha kérhetem - október közepéig biztosan legyen szabad az a bizonyos hazai kórházi ágy, hogy jusson ott nekem is, nekünk is hely, ha netán rászorulnánk, nekünk is, azaz azoknak, akik végig itthon maradtunk.
Ugyanis vannak esetek, amikor hat héten át is kínoz ez a vírus fertőzötteket.
Tehát legkésőbb szeptember elejéig ki kell derülnie, hogy hoztál-e haza fertőzést külföldről magadban.
Következésképp augusztus közepére már légy itthon, hogy két hétig vesztegzár alá lehessen rendelni téged, hogy kiderüljön: fertőzött vagy-e vagy sem.
S így október közepétől ismét egyenrangúan osztozhatunk sorsunkban.
May 11, 2020 Southeast Europe looks to near abroad tourists. Albania, Croatia and Montenegro, where tourism accounts for a substantial share of GDP, face severe economic contractions this year. The World Bank puts the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP as high as 8.49% in Albania, 11% in Croatia and 11.67% in Montenegro as of 2018. The number of foreigners arriving in Albania plunged to 95,321 in March. Tirana is negotiating with certain countries and airlines so that international tourists may be able to come to Albania via charter flights and stay in hotels while following all the appropriate physical distancing rules. Albania first expects to receive tourists from neighbouring Kosovo, and then other countries. New regulations for visiting the beaches will allow no more than four people within a 10-sqm area. Arrival of large groups of tourists in small spaces will be banned. The government's plan also envisages that accommodation facilities should provide a certificate with “Controlled Structure” logo, which will require businesses to adhere to protocols for sanitary and hygiene standards necessary to protect the health of the visitors. Croatia reported that tourist arrivals slumped by 76.8% year-on-year in March. The European Commission projects a 9.1% GDP contraction in Croatia this year, one of the largest in the Union. The other EU members expecting a drop of more than 9% are Greece, Italy and Spain, all major tourist destinations. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Croatia’s reliance on tourism “exacerbates the slump and poses a risk in case of longer travel restrictions”. “Service exports should suffer ... due to the negative impact of the suppression and mitigation measures on the travel, hospitality and transport sectors. Due to the expected increased aversion towards international travel by potential non-resident tourists, tourism is not expected to recover to its 2019 level in 2021. Croatia is preparing for a fall in tourist overnight stays that could range from a best-case scenario of 60% to a worst-case scenario of 90% this year, Tourism Minister Cappelli said on April 1. The Croatian government is considering creating “tourist corridors” to enable Czech holidaymakers to visit this summer. For Czechs would first need a certificate to show they are free from the coronavirus to visit Croatia. Similar measures could be put in place for tourists from other nearby countries such as Austria and Hungary. Zagreb is also looking to domestic tourists to help rescue the holiday season, their share in total traffic in the last two years has been around 12%. In Montenegro the government will allow a single family to use 16 sqm of beach. Umbrellas and other beach facilities will be disinfected daily. This would be a new sort of tourism - controlled tourism. Slovenia recorded 75% fewer tourist arrivals in March. The Slovenian Tourist Board expects the sector to experience a 60-70% contraction this year. With the tourism industry projected to remain shut down longer due to coronavirus than most other sectors, the Slovenian government is considering extending temporary emergency aid for tourism companies by a few months or even until the end of the year. After the sharp decline, the recovery is expected to be long, maybe several years, depending on how successfully the virus is contained, when borders reopen, and when tourism providers are allowed to operate again. In North Macedonia people say they will not go on holiday this summer due to the coronavirus situation as they fear for their health, although some already are visiting their weekend houses in rural and lakeside areas. Tourism workers expect that the tourist season this year will be supported only by local tourists. Romania might establish “green corridors” to Greece, the most popular destination for Romanian tourists, but with no end to the lockdown in Romania currently in sight, this remains a far-off prospect. Meanwhile, Germany is reportedly negotiating similar agreements to allow its nationals to visit Greece and the Balearics. Compared to the Adriatic tourist resorts, plans are less advanced in the Black Sea countries of Bulgaria and Romania. Tourism Minister Angelkova has been strongly criticised by the sector for the lack of policy and support in the crisis. So far, she has only said that a mobile phone app is being developed that would show where tourists can find free umbrellas. With a share of just 1.4% in GDP, Romania’s tourism has not been on the government’s agenda during the coronavirus crisis despite the efforts of tour operators and hotel owners. And it was low on the public agenda as well. Consensus expectations for 50% drop in the tourism business in Romania have consolidated. Hotels in Romania will reopen on May 15, when the state of emergency due to COVID-19 ends in the country, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said in his press conference on May 4. This would have been good news, if the hotels were ever closed - but they were not. Orban stressed that “we can survive without restaurants for another two months”. adding that the holiday season in Romania only starts after June 15. In fact, it remains unclear whether Romanians will be able to travel freely out of their city of residence after May 15, when the state of emergency ends. Scenarios of green corridors to Greece, COVID-free passports, testing and plexiglass walls everywhere abound, while the holidays are placed in a remote future that can be reached only after an indefinite number of 14-day steps, each of which can generate alternative futures depending on the recommendations of the epidemiologists. (Source: IntelliNews)
May 11, 2020 The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released new data and analysis looking at deaths related to COVID-19 and occupation. “This important report confirms that in the working age population Covid-19 is largely an occupational disease," Prof Pearce, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. "This is not just for health care and social care workers, but for many other occupations that involve contact with people". The highest Covid-19 death rates are for security guards, with high rates also for taxi drivers and chauffeurs, bus and coach drivers, chefs, sales and retail assistants, construction workers, and service occupations (including hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistants, and waiters). The authors note that the findings are adjusted for age, but not for other factors such as ethnic group and place of residence; pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and obesity may also vary by occupational group. Nevertheless, the findings are striking, and emphasise that we need to look beyond health and social care, and that there is a broad range of occupations which may be at risk from Covid-19. These are many of the same occupations that are now being urged to return to work, in some instances without proper safety measures and PPE being in place.” (Source: ScienceMediaCentre): https://tinyurl.com/y7f4n8gn
17 May 2020 Little help came from its European neighbours in those first weeks in February and March, as hospitals in the north were overwhelmed. As Italy counts its 31,000 dead, concern is mounting over the economic impact too, and there are signs of a rise in the number of Italians losing faith in the EU. According to a survey of 1,000 Italians conducted in April by Tecné, 42% of respondents said they would leave the EU, up from 26% in November 2018. The country's economic output will fall by 8% this year. That scale of downturn will bloat Italy's public debt this year to the tune of almost 155.7% of GDP. When the health crisis broke out, Mr Conte called for the creation of coronabonds, which would have been underwritten by all eurozone members to share the burden of economic recovery. But within days Germany and the Netherlands had ruled out any kind of debt mutualisation, which is forbidden by EU treaties and Germany's constitution. On 18 March, the European Central Bank launched a €750bn ($800bn) bond purchase programme to help the eurozone's more indebted countries by pushing down borrowing costs. Two days later, the European Commission announced the suspension of rules on public deficits, thus allowing countries to inject as much money as they needed into their economies. Then, on 8 April, the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers agreed on a €540bn rescue plan. It was made up of: €200bn as a new credit line for companies, provided by the European Investment Bank, €100bn in loans to support temporary unemployment schemes, €240bn as a credit line provided by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to fund eurozone health systems. The political debate in Italy has focused mostly on that last part of the package. The unpopular ESM is an intergovernmental bailout fund that provided loans to Greece and some other EU countries during the financial crisis and dates back to 2012. According to the Eurogroup, loans will have interest rates close to 0.1%, but the money will be used only "to support domestic financing of direct and indirect healthcare, cure and prevention-related costs due to the Covid-19 crisis". Italy could borrow up to €37bn from the ESM, but has still to decide whether to ask for the loans. The two parties that make up the technocrat Mr Conte's coalition government have often held contrasting positions on European issues, and that is the case too concerning borrowing from the ESM. The centre-left Democratic Party backs the idea. But the anti-establishment Five Star Movement has warned the government would collapse if Mr Conte were to tap into the bailout fund. "The Italian parliament will decide whether or not it is appropriate for Italy to activate it," Mr Conte finally said. The main objection is from the far-right League party, which used to be in government but is now in opposition. "The ESM is not a gift, it's money lent, to be repaid at precise conditions chosen in Brussels and not in Italy," said its leader Salvini. "We must re-found the EU on new principles and go back to having control over money production. We need to print money," he argued. The League is still Italy's biggest party. It rules two key regions in Italy's north: the industrial powerhouse of Lombardy, and Veneto in the north-east. Mr Salvini appears to have lost support, while his challenger inside the party, Veneto governor Zaia, is becoming increasingly popular. They are both Eurosceptic, but Zaia is in charge of managing this crisis in his region, and he is handling it well. Salvini represents the opposition at national level, his criticism of the government is not appealing to the people right now. Italy has recorded over 223,000 cases of coronavirus and Lombardy in the north was the worst-hit region. Zaia launched large-scale testing of the entire population of the region, Fontana, governor of Lombardy and one of Mr Salvini's closest allies, chose not to implement the same strategy. Veneto's fatality rate of infected people is 6.4%, whereas in Lombardy it is as high as 18.3%. Italy's employment rate, one of the lowest in the eurozone, decreased slightly to 58.8% in March from 58.9% in February. The European Parliament is asking for a €2 trillion recovery fund to be built into the EU budget and the European Commission is expected to table proposals shortly. A major part of the next budget is cohesion, aiming to reduce the big wealth gap between member states. But there are strong divisions among them - the biggest is whether countries should receive grants or just loans. Any recovery plan based mainly on grants would be a victory for Mr Conte. (Source: BBC)
May 17, 2020 Serbia has deployed troops near a town not far from the border with Croatia, where hundreds of migrants hoping to reach the European Union are located. President Vucic sent the troops to "secure" three migrant camps near the western town of Sid, where about 1,500 people, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are being housed. Vucic said he ordered the deployment to protect the local population from alleged harassment and robberies committed by the migrants. After a state of emergency imposed to fight the coronavirus spread in Serbia was lifted earlier this month, the migrants started venturing outside the camps, committing "petty crimes and illegal entries into houses" he told. There are an estimated 4,000 migrants stranded in Serbia. (Source: VoANews)
May 11, 2020 The government must decide whom it is fighting against - medics or the coronavirus.” Thousands of Ukrainians who had temporary jobs in Europe have returned home amid the pandemic and some brought the virus back with them. As COVID-19 patients flood into the struggling hospitals, some doctors and nurses must buy their own protective gear or use improvised equipment. Many of them are getting sick: medical workers account for about a fifth of all coronavirus cases in Ukraine. In Chernivtsi, a city of 266,000 people there is not a hospital-grade ventilator for the 250 patients in the facility. “It’s sad and scary that I have to think not about my patients, but how not to die of hunger, how to pay for my apartment and feed my family,” said Dr. Feldman, a 38-year-old lung specialist in Chernivtsi with 15 years of experience who makes $174 a month. The country’s corruption-ridden economy has been drained by six years of war with Russia-backed separatists in the east, and the year-old administration of President Zelenskiy inherited health care reforms begun by his predecessor that are still rolling out. The reforms have slashed government subsidies, leaving hospital workers underpaid and poorly equipped. "Hospitals aren’t ready, there aren’t enough beds for infected patients, salaries are very low, medical infrastructure is missing,” Zelenskiy said. “We didn’t even have 1,000 ventilators in working condition in a country of over 40 million. It’s just a shame.” The new system also redistributes subsidies among hospitals, with the most money going to those with more patients, putting many smaller and specialized clinics on the verge of closure. Zelenskiy has vowed to revise the reforms, saying that it otherwise could lead to the closure of more than 300 hospitals, leaving 50,000 medical workers jobless. “Except for the medics - the excellent professionals who are among the best in the world - we have nothing else,” he said. Authorities began a strict coronavirus lockdown on March 12, complete with police patrols and tight restrictions on using public transportation. Farmers, businessmen and others have been pushing authorities to ease the rules, and the government said it would do so starting today. Stetsiuk, a pathologist in the western city of Ternopil wears a yellow protective suit that his friend, a shoemaker, made for him. “They don’t give us a penny to improve sanitary conditions,” he said. He conducts autopsies on patients killed by the virus outdoors behind his hospital because its morgue lacks the proper air and water filtration system. The authorities rejected his plea to provide a tent for the autopsies, citing a lack of funds. The government used to subsidize things like wages for medical workers and hospital utility bills, but under a second stage of the reforms that began last month, there will be further cuts to of the already-limited state funding. Under the new rules, the state doesn’t fully cover the cost of treatment. It only pays the equivalent of $780 for treating a stroke patient, while experts estimate the cost at $2,000-$3,200. Limited state funds have resulted in low wages. ICU doctors have monthly salaries ranging from $148 to $174, while nurses get $111. Medical workers across Ukraine have held rallies to protest the reforms and some hospital chiefs staged hunger strikes. (Source: AP)
15 May 2020 Yesterday EU Commission vice-president Jourova urged member states, particularly Hungary, to roll back political emergency measures, as lockdown restrictions are relaxed around Europe. Jourova told MEPs in a debate on Hungary that while the EU executive will not take legal action against the government of prime minister Viktor Orbán yet over extraordinary powers the parliament granted him in March, but is "monitoring very closely" developments. "This new phase means that the general states of emergency with exceptional powers granted to governments should gradually be removed, or replaced by more targeted and less intrusive measures," Jourova, who is in charge of EU values and transparency, said. "The European Commission will be very vigilant on how emergency measures affecting fundamental rights, rule of law and democratic values are phased out in member states." "This is even more important for Hungary given the lack of a clear time limit for the state of danger," she said. "The emergency powers granted appear more extensive than in other member states considering the combined effect of broadly defined power and the absence of a clear time limit," the Czech politician said. Jourova added that the criminalisation of stating and spending false information related to the crisis is not clearly defined and is accompanied by strict sanctions raises "potential concerns regarding legal certainty and may have chilling effect on freedom of expression". Meanwhile, Orbán's chief of staff, Gulyás, told a briefing in Budapest, also yesterday, that the government could end emergency powers in late June, depending on the evolution of the pandemic. In the European Parliament, MEP Deli from Orbán's Fidesz party, said the debate reminded him of a "show trial". "It seems there are factions on the leftist-liberal side which cannot afford not to attack Hungary again and again on a monthly basis," he said. "It is much easier to organise empty ideological debates, than to talk about the substance and the facts and matters which truly interests citizens in the member states," Deli added, speaking on behalf of the centre-right European People's Party where Fidesz's membership is suspended. Deli argued the parliament president Sassoli had not helped the participation of the Hungarian government in the debate. After Hungarian justice minister Varga signalled her wish to participate, Sassoli in a letter told Orbán that only heads of state and government can participate, citing an "established practice". Orbán declined. In the meantime, Hungarian police said that 86 domestic criminal investigations into scaremongering have been launched since the emergency legislation was adopted. (Source: EUObserver)
5/13/2020 'Demotivated' diplomats? One glaring example of Europe's foreign policy muddle is Libya, which Borrell made a priority on taking up his post in December. France and Italy have backed different sides in Libya's civil war and EU-supported efforts to establish a durable cease-fire are still far from being realized, despite a major conference hosted by Angela Merkel in January. On Iran, the EU has trumpeted the nuclear deal as one of its great diplomatic successes - even after U.S. President Trump withdrew from the pact - but some diplomats note that member states have pursued their own initiatives, rather than leaving the field to the European External Action Service (EEAS). The diplomatic service was accused of watering down a report on Chinese disinformation following pressure from Beijing - an accusation it denied, despite evidence that the text used in public was weaker than language used internally. The EEAS then admitted that the EU ambassador to China bowed to Chinese pressure by allowing a letter signed by him and his counterparts from the EU's member countries to be censored before publication by the China Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party. In May 12 Borrell agreed the EEAS had made a mistake and pledged it wouldn't happen again. While the the EEAS - created in 2011 as the EU's foreign policy arm and now headed by former Spanish Foreign Minister Borrell - is meant to be focused on external affairs, it has significant internal troubles. The organization's last internal report on human resources, published in 2019, showed only 39 percent of participants considered that their manager dealt effectively with poor performance in their team. The organization, which has some 4,000 staff, has a recruitment problem. There are many cases where member states send simply the officials they don't want anymore. There are cases where, because of political reasons, or bad management, they don't get the position most appropriate for them. Belliard, a French diplomat considered one of the top EU experts on Africa, was not put in charge of relations with that continent despite being appointed a deputy secretary-general. He recently left the EEAS. He was a great expert but the decision was not to have a French person in charge of Africa. Ambitious EEAS staffers can be “deeply demotivated” by seeing plum jobs - particularly overseas postings - going to people from the national diplomatic services at their governments' behest. Borrell, the blunt Spaniard earns points in some quarters for his willingness to ask tough questions about what the EU wants to achieve in foreign policy. On the other hand, he is not the smoothest of operators, in public or private. The latest videoconference of foreign ministers featured an attempt to agree a statement in support of Cyprus in the face of mounting Turkish pressure in its territorial waters - which one diplomat described as "the most chaotic discussion ever" with five different drafts of the statement circulating. Borrell said a text had been agreed - but it later became clear no text had actually been agreed because many ministers had left the videoconference and been replaced by their political directors. The procedural mess created a political problem. (Source: Politico)
17 May 2020 Nothing has changed. Dr Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, saying that now is the "time for preparation, not celebration". He stressed that, as the number of cases of Covid-19 in countries such as the UK, France and Italy was beginning to fall, it did not mean the pandemic was coming to an end. Countries should use this time wisely and start to strengthen public health systems as well as building capacity in hospitals, primary care and intensive care units. "In the fall, we could have a second wave of Covid and another one of seasonal flu or measles. Two years ago we had 500,000 children who didn't have their first shot of the measles vaccine," he said. "We know from history that in pandemics the countries that have not been hit early on can be hit in a second wave," said Dr Kluge. "What are we going to see in Africa and Eastern Europe? They're behind the curve – some countries are saying: 'We're not like Italy' and then, two weeks later, boom! They can unfortunately get hit by a second wave, so we have to be very very careful." In the absence of an effective treatment for the virus, or a vaccine, Dr Kluge said any lockdown had to be accompanied by rigorous public health measures including comprehensive contact tracing and testing. (Source: TheTelegraph)