Macron proposes establishing closed migrant centers in Europe

admin   •   June 26, 2018   •   3231

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Quimper, France, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday proposed the creation of closed migrant centers in Europe, where authorities could quickly assess whether or not migrants are eligible to apply for asylum and send those back who do not qualify.

The centers are expected to allow a rapid response to asylum requests, as well as foster European solidarity so that each country takes in, in an organized way, migrants who are entitled to asylum, said Macron, at a joint press conference with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

“France and Spain share the same strategy to respond to the arrival of migrants with efficiency and humanity. And this strategy is based on three pillars, which are also indispensable. The first one is the strengthening of our support and cooperation with original and transit countries. In this respect, I must welcome the cooperation that Spain has with several African countries. Spain was present at the summit organized by France on last August 28 and we were able to carry out several concrete actions. And I hope we will continue on this point with all countries, especially those in Africa, which are original or transit countries for these migrants,” said Macron— Reuters

Europe COVID-19 cases close to a million, coming weeks “critical” — WHO

UNTV News   •   April 16, 2020

Europe is currently in eye of the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases nearing a million, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European regional director said on Thursday (April 16).

Speaking in an online media briefing, the WHO’s Hans Kluge said this meant that about 50% of the global burden of COVID-19 was in Europe. More than 84,000 people in Europe had died in the epidemic, he said.

He called for “solidarity between countries”, adding: “It is the time to step up and display both responsive and responsible leadership to steer us through this storm.”

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday (April 14) a halt in U.S. funding to the WHO, saying it had “failed in its basic duty” in allowing the pandemic to take hold.

Reported cases of the coronavirus crossed 2.05 million globally and more than 136,600 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT on Thursday. (Reuters)

(Production: Aiden Nulty)

Austria reopens thousands of shops in first loosening of lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 14, 2020

Thousands of shops across Austria reopened on Tuesday (April 14) as the landlocked country becomes one of the first in Europe to loosen its coronavirus lockdown, but the government is still telling the nation it is “not out of the woods” yet.

Austria acted early in its outbreak to close schools, bars, theatres, restaurants, non-essential shops and other gathering places roughly four weeks ago. It has told the public to stay home and work from there if possible.

It has fared relatively well so far, having reported 368 deaths in total, fewer than some larger European countries have been suffering each day. The daily increase in confirmed cases is in low single digits in percentage terms and hospitalisations have stabilised.

Last week, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz outlined a step-by-step plan to reopen parts of the economy, starting with shops of up to 400 square metres (4,300 square feet) — roughly twice the playing area of a singles tennis court — as well as all home-improvement and garden centres on Tuesday.

They are due to be followed by shopping centres, larger shops and hairdressers from May 1. Restaurants and hotels could reopen progressively from mid-May. (Reuters)

(Production: Matteo Witt, Michele Sani and Elena Gyldenkerne)

Macron extends France’s lockdown until May 11

UNTV News   •   April 14, 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday (April 13) announced he was extending a virtual lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak until May 11, adding that progress had been made but the battle not yet won.

Following Italy in extending the lockdown but announcing no immediate easing of restrictive measures as in Spain, Macron said the tense situation in hospitals in Paris and eastern France meant there could be no let-up in the country.

Since March 17, France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home except to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or get some exercise on their own. The lockdown was originally scheduled to end on Tuesday.

Schools and shops would progressively reopen on May 11, Macron said. But restaurants, hotels, cafes and cinemas would have to remain shut longer, he added. International arrivals from non-European countries will remain prohibited until further notice.

Macron, whose government has faced criticism over a shortage of face masks and testing kits, said that by May 11, France would be able to test anyone presenting COVID-19 symptoms and give nonprofessional face masks to the public.

Macron also said he had asked his government to present this week new financial aid for families and students in need.

The French, long accustomed to being told their high taxes paid for the “best healthcare in the world,” have been dismayed by the rationing of critical drugs, face masks and equipment and have watched with envy the situation in neighbouring Germany.

After a relentless increase until the first week of April, the number of patients in French hospitals’ intensive care units has started to decline, prompting health authorities to call a plateau in the epidemic.

But if French hospitals are just about coping, helped by a massive effort to transfer patients by plane, helicopter or even high-speed train from hospitals in the east and Paris to the west, nursing homes have been overwhelmed.

By Monday, the coronavirus had claimed 14,967 lives in France, the fourth-highest death toll in the world, with more than 98,076 confirmed cases, according to official figures. (Reuters)

(Production: Johnny Cotton)

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