The top of the bronze statue 'Europe' stands outside the European Union parliament building alongside a European Union flag in Brussels, Belgium
The top of the bronze statue 'Europe' stands outside the European Union parliament building alongside a European Union flag in Brussels, Belgium | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count is over 1.48 crore cases and more than 6.13 lakh deaths.

The European Union has finally agreed upon a large recovery package. Brazilian health workers are spreading the virus to the indigenous communities. Meanwhile, the fears of pandemic in Africa are growing stronger.

ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.

EU leaders agree on landmark recovery fund 

After days of charged negotiations, European Union (EU) leaders managed to agree upon a landmark 750 billion euro coronavirus recovery package, reports the Financial Times. 

“The recovery fund centres on a €390bn programme of grants to economically weakened member states — a significantly smaller sum than the €500bn package originally proposed by Berlin and Paris in May. Leaders also signed off on the EU’s next seven-year budget, which will be worth €1.074tn,” notes the report.

“The protracted negotiations on the plan laid bare deep divisions over governments’ willingness to pool their financial firepower. Splits had to be overcome through a complex patchwork of compromises,” adds the FT report.

Also read: Indonesia faces unusual challenges as Covid cases climb — theft of corpses, smiling

Covid exposed European countries’ misplaced confidence in themselves

European nations thought they had safeguards against the pandemic, given the confidence in their faulty models, bureaucratic busywork, and their own wealth. However, this misplaced confidence has caused them several lives and a distraught economy, reports The New York Times. 

“The expertise and resources of Western Europe were expected to provide the antidote to viral outbreaks flowing out of poorer regions,” states the report.

“But that confidence would prove their undoing. Their pandemic plans were built on a litany of miscalculations and false assumptions. European leaders boasted of the superiority of their world-class health systems but had weakened them with a decade of cutbacks. When Covid-19 arrived, those systems were unable to test widely enough to see the peak coming — or to guarantee the safety of health care workers after it hit,” it adds.

Tower of London guards face job cuts for the first time ever

London’s iconic beefeaters, who guard the millennia old Tower of London, are now facing job cuts for the first time in history, reports the Washington Post.

“Founded by Henry VII in 1485, the Yeomen Warders, as they are formally known, clad in flamboyant ruby and gold or navy blue uniforms, were the traditional guards of prisoners and the Crown Jewels,” notes the report.

Now, their role is essentially ceremonial, but given the decline in visitors to Royal Historic Places, their jobs are now under threat.

Also read: India wants concessions from US on drug exports, offers to cut farm goods prices, report says

Has coronavirus given Biden an unusually sustainable lead over Trump?

For nearly a month now, former US Vice President and presumed Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has maintained a strong lead over the incumbent President Donald Trump in the opinion polls for the upcoming presidential elections in November, reports The New York Times. 

Historically, none of such leads have managed to exist for long periods, eventually making way for a tight race. Biden currently has an over 12-point lead over Trump.

As Mr. Biden’s margin endures well into its second month, it becomes harder to assume that it is just another fleeting shift in the polls. Perhaps the lead is not just different in size and length, but also in kind. It’s possible the nation’s political stalemate has been broken, at least for now, by one issue: the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” remarks the report.

As cases surge in US, economic rebound in the country lurches

A new long read in the Financial Times asks whether the economic rebound in the US is already over given a large surge in cases across several states and thus subsequent shutdowns.

The loss of economic momentum is already appearing in high-frequency data related to employment, restaurant bookings and mobility, all of which are flattening out. The impact is especially pronounced in the hardest hit states, as consumers again become more cautious and authorities pause or even roll back the process of lifting restrictions on economic activity,” says the report.

Also read: Kim Jong Un’s unfinished hospital shows sanctions are biting

Healthcare workers spread Covid to remote communities in Brazil

In Brazil, many who were assigned to take care of the health of the indigenous people, have now been infected, exposing remote communities to the novel coronavirus, reports The New York Times.

“More than 1,000 workers with the federal Indigenous health service, known as Sesai, have tested positive for coronavirus as of early July, a freedom of information request and interviews with union representatives found,” notes the report.

“Working without adequate protective equipment or access to enough tests, these workers may have inadvertently endangered the very communities they were trying to help, medical workers and Indigenous leaders said,” it adds.

Currently, more than 15,000 indigenous Brazilians have tested positive.

Situation in Africa ‘increasingly worrying’: WHO

The WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan has expressed growing concerns regarding the rapid spike in the number of cases in Africa, reports the Al Jazeera.

He said that the epidemic in South Africa could be a precursor for similar outbreaks across the continent.

“Until recently, Africa remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic compared with rising numbers in other parts of the world.With more than 15,000 deaths and close to 725,000 cases, the continent remains the world’s second-least affected after Oceania. But the situation has become increasingly worrying, particularly in South Africa,” says the report.

Also read: After Pompeo visit, British MPs to ask Boris Johnson to get even tougher on China

Chinese factory owner embraces cutthroat ‘street vendor economy’ to survive

Several Chinese factories have large bulks of unsold inventories lying in their godowns, and now they are moving to the streets to sell their goods, reports the South China Morning Post.

“Until this past spring, those turning to street vending to earn a living were mainly low-income and unemployed individuals. But as the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on both export orders and domestic sales, putting tens of millions of jobs in peril, even small manufacturers such as Huang are taking to the streets to survive,” notes the report.

With exports and domestic demand drying out and Premier Li Keqiang’s public acknowledgement of street vendors creating jobs in such tough times — several vendors have taken to the streets to sell their goods.

What else we are reading: 

Private carriers lead China’s aviation rebound from coronavirus: Nikkei Asian Review

Once a Model City, Hong Kong Grapples With a New Coronavirus Wave: The New York Times

Fears mount of a fresh Latin American debt crisis: Financial Times

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