France’s Macron says Europe needs to be less dependent on China, US

Macron addressed the nation via televised address Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 14 June 2020

France’s Macron says Europe needs to be less dependent on China, US

  • The French President said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of French supply chains

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he was accelerating France’s exit from its coronavirus lockdown and that the crisis had laid bare the country’s need for greater economic independence.
In a televised address to the nation, Macron promised that the 500 billion euro cost of keeping companies afloat and people in jobs during the worst downturn since World War Two would not be passed to households through higher taxes.
Restaurants and cafes in Paris will be allowed to reopen fully from Monday, he said, the same day France lifts restrictions at its borders for European Union travelers, bringing sorely needed relief for the hospitality industry.
He said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the “flaws and fragility” of France’s, and more broadly Europe’s, over-reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smart phones and pharmaceuticals.
“The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, to work and produce more, so as not to rely on others,” Macron said.
The coronavirus has killed more than 29,300 people in France and forced Macron, a former investment banker, to suspend his economic and social reform drive aimed at spurring growth, creating jobs and deregulating the economy.
The government expects the economy to shrink by 11% in 2020. Macron said he would lay out a detailed blueprint for the final two years of his mandate in July.


Having flu doubles risk of coronavirus death: Study

Updated 22 September 2020

Having flu doubles risk of coronavirus death: Study

  • Heightened danger particularly acute among over-65s
  • WHO identifies flu season as acute threat given COVID-19 spikes

LONDON: Infection with flu and coronavirus at the same time more than doubles a person’s risk of dying than if he or she only had COVID-19, according to research released by England’s highest public health body.

Research conducted by Public Health England (PHE) found that those with flu and COVID-19 were 2.27 times more likely to die than those who just had COVID-19, and 5.92 times more likely to die than those who had neither.

Researchers found that those aged 65 and over were at greatest risk. Most cases of co-infection were in older people, and more than half of them died.

The paper describes the possible impact of COVID-19 alongside seasonal flu as a “major concern.”

Yvonne Doyle, medical director of PHE, said: “If you get both you’re in some serious trouble, and the people who are most likely to get both of these infections may be the very people who can least afford to in terms of their own immune system, or their risk for serious outcomes.”

The paper found that people with flu were less likely to test positive for COVID-19, but Doyle said this should not be taken as a reassurance.

Some countries in Asia have pre-emptively rolled out early and more aggressive flu vaccination programs this year to prevent complications caused by co-infection.

But others, such as Poland, have been struggling to secure flu vaccines due to shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The upcoming flu season has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a particularly acute threat, given that many parts of the world are already experiencing a spike in COVID-19 infections.

“We’re starting to see worrying trends in some countries,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for COVID-19. “We’re seeing increases in hospitalizations, in intensive care units … That’s worrying because we haven’t seen the flu season yet.”