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  Coronavirus pandemic 2020

  233 Debates

A clear verdict has been reached by the parliamentary commission: the Covid-19 mass mink cull in Denmark lacked a legal basis. Senior officials and members of government now stand accused of serious omissions, and one of the parties that support Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's social democratic minority government is now calling for new elections this autumn at the latest.

The Austrian government has decided to abolish the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination mandate that has been in place since February. The law and the associated penalties were never applied anyway. Does it make sense to rely on voluntary vaccination?

In France, former health minister Agnès Buzyn, who resigned in mid-February 2020, is on trial for endangering human lives through her policies at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Buzyn and other members of the government. The French press, however, sees no point to the proceedings.

In this year dominated by the coronavirus, women have played an instrumental part in getting European politics back on track. Commentators praise this development but also note that in other areas gender equality has lost ground rather than advanced.

When the pandemic first took hold, people everywhere said that only through a joint effort could humankind overcome such a crisis. But not much seems to remain of the initial solidarity and willingness to make sacrifices. Commentaries give an idea of the extent to which the sense of disillusionment and exhaustion are the result of political failures.

For every single person the pandemic means a crisis that must be overcome. Many have lost loved ones and many have to fight for their economic survival, and compounding all this is the loss of normality and daily coexistence. A difficult situation - but also one that offers the possibility to reflect on what really counts.

The new strain of Sars-CoV-2, which is reportedly up to 70 percent more contagious, has spread from the south of England to at least five other countries. More than 40 states have banned all traffic to and from the UK and supply chains have broken down. Europe's media debate what needs to be done at the political level, but also point to opportunities.

In a TV interview, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf has described his country's coronavirus strategy as a failure. Sweden's independent coronavirus commission had previously issued a harsh judgment with its first report, saying that Sweden had not sufficiently protected the elderly and that the areas of responsibility had not been clarified. Commentators for the most part agree.

Are non-mainstream voices on how to fight the pandemic not being heard? Europe's media discuss the accusation, which has been made not just by people who deny the seriousness of the pandemic. Some commentators are also self-critical on this point.

The Estonian government tightened its coronavirus measures on Wednesday, closing all schools and other public institutions. In the northeast of the country - which has one of the highest infection rates in Europe - all public activities are banned for the next three weeks, with one exception: churches will remain open throughout the country. The state press is baffled and dismayed.

All Europe's states are struggling with high coronavirus infection rates, and everywhere the rules have been tightened in recent weeks. Many people won't be able to celebrate Christmas as they are used to doing this year. Commentators offer some tips for the Christmas holidays.

The pandemic is facing politicians with some difficult decisions: how many restrictions can be imposed without destroying the economy, and how much can they be loosened without endangering too many lives? With the prospect of effective vaccines on the horizon, these questions are gaining new relevance. Commentators argue that the economy and public health are not mutually exclusive.

A few countries have eased their Covid restrictions in recent days: in the Czech Republic, Ireland and France, stores and restaurants are allowed to open once more and people can spend more time in public spaces. But commentators are far from relieved.

Due to the high number of infections in the Romanian district of Constanța, the authorities banned the annual pilgrimage to Saint Andrew's Cave on November 30. However, the Orthodox Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis opposed the ban and on the weekend called on the faithful to come to the pilgrimage site to be healed.

Berlin, Paris and Rome want to keep all ski areas in the EU closed until January 10 in a bid to limit the Covid infection rates. Vienna opposes the idea saying it does not want to further damage the sector, which generates an annual turnover running into the billions, even though it played a key role in the spread of the virus across Europe at the beginning of the pandemic. For some commentators, there is more to the dispute than the fear of Covid.

While press voices are criticising the slow progress of vaccination campaigns within the EU, many Europeans are sceptical and don't want to be vaccinated at all. According to an Ipsos study, a significantly lower number of people want to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the EU than in other regions of the world. Commentators reflect on how to tackle this.

Once Austria's rigorous lockdown ends on December 6, the government plans to introduce mass coronavirus testing according to the Slovakian model. Teachers and police officers are to be tested first with rapid antigen tests, followed by the rest of the population. Austrian media highlight opportunities and pitfalls of various test strategies.

The British government is planning to lift the coronavirus restrictions now in force for five days over Christmas. Up to four households will be allowed to celebrate together indoors, according to the plan. This would then be followed by a 25-day lockdown in January, according to the formula "One day of relaxation, five days of lockdown".

The French film Hold-Up, which portrays the coronavirus crisis as a global conspiracy, has already been viewed over three million times online and has been recommended by celebrities like Carla Bruni and Juliette Binoche. Because the film leaves many statements that are critical of the government or simpy false uncommented, politicians and scientists are demanding that these segments be cut out and saying that the film fuels conspiracy theories.

The German Bundestag and Bundesrat have approved an amendment to the Infection Protection Act in a fast-track procedure. A new paragraph lists concrete protective measures that can be put in place, such as bans on events, travel and contact restrictions and is loosely worded in order to keep the option open for further potential measures. The amendment is also intended to make it easier for courts to judge the legality of coronavirus rules.

Sweden's government is intensifying the measures against coronavirus. No more than eight people will be allowed to gather in public, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced. Up to now the upper limit had been 50 and in some cases 300 people. For a long time, Sweden went its own way with relatively lax measures and appeals to people's common sense rather than rules. This change of course is therefore attracting a lot of attention.

In Austria, a comprehensive lockdown will be reintroduced for at least three weeks starting Tuesday. Schools and almost all shops will have to close, and restrictions on leaving home will apply around the clock. "Do not meet with anyone," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the population in dramatic terms. Austria currently has one of the highest infection rates in Europe. How did it come to this?

The lockdowns and partial lockdowns imposed by most European governments amid the second wave of the pandemic threaten to leave companies and individuals on the brink of financial collapse. This has reignited the discussion about what measures should be taken to help them. The press debates who needs support most urgently and whether state aid is at all the right approach.

New measures aimed at combating the spread of coronavirus have been in force in Portugal since Monday. While people must stay at home from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. all week, on weekends the curfew is in force as of 1 p.m. With the partial lockdown the government hopes to stem the surge in infection rates while keeping the economy and daily life going. Portuguese media react with indignation and sarcasm.

With rising infection rates and the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some parts of Europe, the calls for schools to close are growing louder once more. Unlike in the spring, many governments wanted to keep educational institutions open as far as possible to avoid negative consequences for children and teenagers. But how long can this policy be sustained?

A partial lockdown will apply in Romania starting today. Among other measures, vegetable markets will be closed. In the wake of fierce criticism from farmers, the government has announced plans to take a differentiated approach to applying the rules in the country's cities and municipalities - entirely to the approval of commentators.

EU opponent Nigel Farage wants to relaunch his Brexit Party as Reform UK and focus on protesting against what he sees as the government's overly restrictive coronavirus policy. On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another partial lockdown that will last several weeks. Journalists believe Farage has good chances of stirring things up in British politics again.

Roughly three million of Slovakia's five million inhabitants were tested for coronavirus on the weekend. The unusual initiative, which is to be continued next weekend, attracted international attention, as it could potentially serve as a model for other countries. The reactions in Slovakia's press vary widely.

Much has been done to avoid it, and there have been urgent warnings against it, but in the face of a surge in infection rates lockdowns have been reimposed in many European countries. Unlike six months ago, however, daycare centres and schools are remaining open in most cases - which is why the talk is now of "partial lockdowns". Nevertheless, just like in the spring, opinions differ about the measures and whether they are necessary.

The cabinet of Spain's left-wing government on Tuesday adopted a draft budget which foresees a sharp increase in public spending and tax hikes for large corporations and the rich. Commentators discuss whether this is the right way to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Amid a wave of new and partial lockdowns in countries across Europe, the economic consequences of these drastic measures are under scrutiny again. There is a consensus in Europe's press that additional support measures are needed, but not on whether more recovery funds are the right solution or on who should receive funding.

European governments are alarmed by the dramatic increase in corona infections. In some countries, such as Ireland or the Czech Republic, shops have been closed again, in Spain a curfew has been in force since Monday, and Italy is trying to deal with the situation by, among other things, closing restaurants from 6 p.m. However, these measures are meeting with increasing opposition from the press.

Stricter coronavirus measures will be reintroduced in Ireland starting Wednesday night. Shops must close, and indoor gatherings between members of different households are forbidden. Schools and kindergartens will remain open, however. Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced in a televised address that the restrictions would initially apply for six weeks. The press is divided.

In view of the sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections across Europe, many governments have reintroduced stricter containment measures. While many commentators find the discussion about the pros and contras of restrictions no longer appropriate, others voice dismay over contradictory rules and regulations.

In order to stem the rapidly growing number of coronavirus infections in Slovakia, Prime Minister Igor Matovič wants the entire population apart from children under 10 years to be tested with a rapid antigen test. If his plan is opposed he will resign, he threatened. Does this measure make sense?

Many European countries are tightening their measures to curb the surge in infection rates. The new regulations range from making masks mandatory in public places and closing bars and restaurants to full curfews at night. Commentators urge policymakers to look beyond national borders for guidance.

The dispute over the EU budget from 2021 to 2027 and the associated corona recovery fund continues. The European Parliament has rejected a compromise proposal by Berlin, while Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Kaczyński has threatened to make use of the country's veto right. The sticking point: should countries that violate the rule of law criteria receive less funding? Not just this question gives commentators food for thought.

According to official figures, the coronavirus infection rate has dropped to extremely low levels in China. During the Golden Week holiday, millions of Chinese travelled within the country for National Day and Moon Festival celebrations. Mobility and consumption are rising there once more. The press points to the strong contrast with the second wave in Europe.

The economic consequences of the pandemic are increasingly dramatic: In India and Venezuela there is widespread hunger and across the globe people are losing their livelihoods due to lockdowns and falling demand for goods and services. The World Bank's prognosis reflects the dire situation. Europe's press examines the problems and discusses solutions.

Portugal and Spain are adopting different strategies for rebuilding their economies after the coronavirus crisis: while Spain plans to use both the loans and the grants provided by the EU recovery fund to boost its economy, Portugal has opted to use the grants but not the loans. Journalists in both countries express approval and doubts about the approach of their respective government.

Shortly after returning to the White House from hospital, US President Donald Trump removed his mask to pose for cameras. He also sent a message on Twitter telling people: "Don't be afraid of Covid". The virus is now spreading among members of his staff. The president's behaviour continues to fuel controversy.

In the final of the Uefa Super Cup, FC Bayern defeated FC Sevilla 2-1 on Thursday. Although the host city Budapest has recently recorded more than 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, Uefa went ahead with the match, which was meant to serve as a test run for the return of spectators to stadiums. Commentators discuss the pros and cons of this experiment.

Infection numbers are rising rapidly across Europe and breaking previous records in many countries. Politicians warn that without more discipline new lockdowns are inevitable. The WHO's special envoy on Covid-19, David Nabarro, has now explicitly warned against this, saying that governments would do better to use other means to combat the pandemic. Europe's press discusses the dilemma.

During the traditional state opening of parliament on Tuesday, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands presented the government's budget for the next twelve months. Despite the already high level of national debt, Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to make massive investments and take out new debt in an effort to bring the country's economy through the coronavirus crisis. The press is divided.

Restrictions on social contact, uncertainty in planning, new rules for work: after months of pandemic most people still face restrictions in their daily life. And as far as the number of infections is concerned, the indications are that the situation is worsening again almost everywhere. Europe's press reflects on how people can remain optimistic, patient and disciplined.

The new school year in Turkey started exclusively online at the end of August. Although the plan is for all schoolchildren to return to school on September 21, it seems that for the time being only preschools and first grade classes will have in-person lessons, with all other classes continuing with online learning. Commentators are alarmed.

Travel warnings, quarantine rules, accommodation bans, lost bookings and last-minute cancellations: the tourism sector has been severely hit by the coronavirus crisis and there is no sign of a reversal in the trend. Observers describe fatal consequences for those who earn their living through tourism - and for the environment.

Hungary issued a ban preventing most foreigners from entering the country on Tuesday, citing rising Covid-19 infection rates. After fierce protests, travellers from the three other Visegrád states, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, were exempted from the ban. Not only the EU but also commentators criticise the border closure.

Around 38,000 people gathered in Berlin on Saturday to protest against Germany's coronavirus restrictions. Demonstrators tolerated neo-Nazis who also took part in the event, several riots broke out and aggressive protesters broke through security barriers and ran up the steps to the Reichstag in an attempt to force their way into the building. Press comments reflect shock and indignation.

The Berlin Corona demonstration in which tens of thousands of people took part at the end of August drew attention from across Europe. A week later, thousands of people also took to the streets in Rome and Zagreb in protest at the pandemic measures. Commentators discuss the sources of the protesters' frustration and lack of understanding and ask how they should be addressed.

EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan stepped down from his position on Wednesday. The Irish government had pushed for his resignation after the country's agriculture minister also quit his post amid a scandal over the two politicians attending a dinner party with 80 guests in violation of Ireland's coronavirus rules. Did the government do the right thing?

In 2020, Earth Overshoot Day came later than in the previous year for the first time. On 22 August - more than three weeks later than in 2019 - humanity had consumed the natural resources that the Earth can regenerate in the course of a year. Thanks to Covid-19 humanity's environmental footprint shrank this year. But is this trend sustainable?

The key matches of the 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League football tournament are currently taking place in Lisbon, albeit under special conditions due to the pandemic: all matches from the quarter-finals onwards will take place within just a few days without spectators and at the same venue, and the contest between two teams will be decided in a single match, as in the World Cup. Commentators discuss the future of this format.

Growing concern about rising infection numbers is prompting European governments to issue more and more travel warnings and classify regions as high-risk areas. Scientists are warning that the Covid-19 pandemic could spiral out of control again this autumn. While some commentators also stress that action must be taken, others warn against overreacting.

The spike in new infections in Greece is raising concerns about a 'second wave'. The government has responded with renewed restrictions including all taverns, bars and discos in numerous well-known holiday regions having to close by midnight. Whereas anxiety is palpable in some media, others seek to calm fears.

At the height of the holiday season, the number of people infected with coronavirus has spiked again in many countries. Travel warnings are being issued and holiday destinations declared high-risk areas once more. Some countries are trying to keep infections under control through large-scale testing of people returning from abroad. Commentators are critical of some of the measures.

After examinations were cancelled because of the coronamvirus pandemic, the results of this year's A-levels, the UK's university entrance qualification exams, were calculated using an algorithm. This process has resulted in grades that in many cases are significantly lower than those predicted by teachers. Students from disadvantaged families are reportedly worst affected, while students from private schools are said to have benefited.

Despite Covid-19, the green light has been given for the political and cultural festival Festa do Avante! to take place in Seixal this year. The event is organised by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and usually attracts around 100,000 visitors. The decision has triggered a heated debate in the country: is it unfair or a meticulously organised step in the right direction?

The number of Covid-19 cases is rising sharply again in many areas in Spain. Health authorities have attributed half of the new infections to family celebrations and parties. The head of the coronavirus management team, Fernando Simón, has warned the country's youth: "You are endangering not only yourselves but the entire country." Commentators warn politicians against responding with more bans.

The new school year began in almost all European countries in the last few weeks. Everywhere there were fierce debates about whether and to what extent schools could go back to normal despite the pandemic. Europe's commentators reflect on a far from smooth return to school.

Many countries have recently seen their cinemas reopen after the lockdown. But especially for small operators, the business is hardly worthwhile because the distancing rules mean lower ticket sales. In addition audiences are staying away out of fear of infection, or because they have simply gotten used to the convenience of streaming services. Commentators say the industry itself is partly to blame for its plight.

According to the calendar, autumn begins in a month's time. Based on current knowledge, experts fear a surge in the number of cases because cool, humid conditions such as those in slaughterhouses promote the spread of the coronavirus. Commentators urge Europe to prepare both mentally and with concrete measures.

Passengers on public transport without masks, demonstrations where protesters don't follow the distancing rules, partying at bars - after months of sticking to the rules of the pandemic it seems that more and more people are no longer willing or able to accept these restrictions on their everyday life. Commentators consider how to deal with this and discuss what we mean by freedom.

In the second quarter of 2020, 1.07 million people lost their jobs in Spain in the worst-ever slump on the Spanish labour market. On top of that there is a vast number of employees on short-time work and freelancers without commissions. Spanish media call for the EU recovery funds to be used to make the country's labour market less vulnerable.

With Covid-19 cases again rising in many countries, fresh criticisms of Europe's management of the pandemic are also being voiced. Politicians have eased the measures taken to counter the virus at all levels over the last two months, making international tourism, and in some states even large dance events, possible once more. Commentators fear this could now backfire.

Austria's Constitutional Court has ruled that a substantial part of the legislation passed by the government in Vienna in the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic was unconstitutional, including a ban on entering public spaces and a regulation stipulating that only shops with a surface area of less than 400 square metres were allowed to remain open. The country's press complains that Vienna has shown blatant disregard for the country's laws.

After months of downplaying the threat posed by coronavirus, President Trump has now called on the US population to wear masks. At a press conference, he encouraged people to use a protective face mask in situations where distancing rules cannot be observed. What has prompted this sudden change of heart?

The EU summit on the coronavirus recovery package has entered its fourth day after negotiations running into the early hours of Monday morning failed to produce an agreement. EU diplomats have, however, emphasised that the member states are moving closer to a deal. Europe's press sees little evidence of progress and examines why the decision-making process is so difficult.

Covid-19 has changed European cities. Outdoor activities have become increasingly popular and more people are cycling to work to avoid cramped conditions on public transport, often benefitting from wider bicycle lanes. On the downside thousands of businesses are closing and the hectic pace in many of the continent's metropolises has given way to empty streets - prompting journalists to paint grim scenarios for the future.

Hopes are high that the EU summit which kicks off today in Brussels will finally produce an agreement on the coronavirus recovery fund. The Commission is proposing that 500 billion euros be allocated as grants and another 250 billion as loans. The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria in particular reject the plan. Commentators are at odds about the opportunities and consequences of potential outcomes.

After weeks of discussion, wearing a mask became compulsory in Belgian shops, cinemas and other enclosed spaces on Saturday. The decision was taken on Thursday evening by the Council of Ministers, supplemented by regional representatives. In other countries such as France and Switzerland masks must only be worn on public transport - as was previously the case in Belgium. What changes will the new rule bring?

The protests in Belgrade triggered by President Vučić's new lockdown announcement continue apace. After two nights of riots, thousands of people gathered for a peaceful protest outside the parliament building on Thursday. Commentators discuss the protesters' motivation and criticise the lack of a common cause.

The holiday season has begun but many people have decided to forgo long journeys this year. Infection rates are rising in many parts of southern Europe, just as the first holidaymakers are arriving. Concurring that the urge to see faraway places is an irresistible force, commentators describe the travel industry's fight for survival and hope for the emergence of a new kind of tourism.

Italy's government has launched a package of 130 measures with which it hopes to convince even the most sceptical EU member states of its will to reform. The country's ailing economy is to be stimulated through the reduction of bureaucracy, digitalisation and investments in infrastructure. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte presented the package as the "mother of all reforms", but the press clearly has its doubts about the plan.

After protracted negotiations the Estonian government decided on Monday to relax entry requirements for guest workers. The country's agricultural sector is suffering heavily from a labour shortage as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, which had devastating consequences for the important strawberry harvest in June. Other countries face similar challenges.

The number of coronavirus infections is rising in many places in Europe. The French and Belgian governments have introduced strict laws enforcing the wearing of masks to counter this trend. In Austria such a law was introduced and then abolished, only to be introduced again soon afterwards. Many commentators also take the view that wearing masks should be made compulsory to avert a second wave and a new lockdown.

The US government has bought up nearly all stocks of the drug Remdesivir for the next three months. Remdesivir is currently considered one of the most promising treatments for severe coronavirus symptoms. Some commentators are furious and accuse Washington of selfishness. Others advise Europe to prepare to go to battle for medicines.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic many observers have said that the crisis is exposing and sometimes even exacerbating social inequalities. Now these voices are being joined by criticism of how certain governments have dealt with the pandemic. Commentators argue that for instance Stockholm and Ankara have left certain sections of their society in the lurch.

Germany takes over the EU Council presidency today, July 1. As during Germany's last presidency in 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel is still leading the country. Observers see getting the EU through the coronavirus crisis and rebuilding the economy as her most important task. While most believe she can achieve this, others have their doubts.

A visitor to a Zurich nightclub may have infected more than 20 other clubbers with coronavirus. The attempt to quarantine hundreds of other guests has proved to be extremely difficult. The information on the list of visitors to the nightclub was inaccurate: a third of the e-mail addresses were incorrect, so that many guests did not receive a call from a contact tracer. The consequences are now being debated.

After several months of negotiations Lufthansa shareholders approved a government rescue package of nine billion euros on Thursday. Like almost all other airlines, the German company has been hard hit by coronavirus crisis. For commentators, the decision is reason enough to reconsider not just the future of former state-owned airlines in their countries, but that of the sector in general.

Even if Europe as a whole is moving in the direction of opening borders and easing travel restrictions, individual countries are taking different approaches. Columnists in northern Europe voice their frustration with the sluggish pace at which their countries are reopening their borders.

After months of isolation, Italy, which was hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and depends heavily on tourism, reopened its borders on June 3. But so far few holidaymakers have ventured into the country. Is the crisis also an opportunity to reform the tourism industry?

The EU's video summit on the details of the EU's coronavirus rescue package ended without concrete results on Friday. The participants nonetheless expressed satisfaction with the constructive atmosphere. Over the next few weeks intense negotiations aimed at resolving the contentious points are to take place, probably with participants meeting in person once more. Not all commentators are as patient as the leaders appear to be.

SSC Napoli won the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday against major rival Juventus Turin in a penalty shootout 4:2. Defying the coronavirus distancing rules, thousands of fans gathered in the streets of Naples, hugging each other and celebrating the victory for hours. This has fuelled a discussion in the media.

In Estonia, the director of the country's Health Board, Merike Jürilo, has resigned citing major differences of opinion with the government in the coronavirus crisis. Jürilo had often criticised the coalition government made up of the Centre Party, nationalist Ekre and conservative Isamaa. Estonia's media examine what other factors were behind the resignation.

The Dutch government wants to anchor the emergency measures against the pandemic in the country's law. Critics of the "coronavirus law" fear they will no longer be able to take legal action against the measures. The pros and cons are reflected in the commentaries.

The drop in environmental pollution during the lockdown is one of the positive side effects of the coronavirus crisis: airplanes were grounded, nitrogen oxide emissions decreased, and airlines have had to commit to ecological constraints in return for state aid. Commentators call for the insights gained from the crisis to be used to promote a lasting positive impact on climate protection.

Freedom of travel within the Schengen area has been largely restored since the start of this week; only a few countries still face restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. June 14 also marked the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Schengen Agreement. Journalists celebrate the return to freedom of travel and question the policy of closing and reopening borders.

The EU finance ministers were unable to settle the dispute over the EU's Covid recovery fund at their virtual summit on Tuesday. In the meantime the European statistics office Eurostat has announced that economic output in the Eurozone dropped considerably in the first quarter, but less dramatically than expected. Commentators examine the outlook and make proposals for reviving the economy.

Now that most European countries have significantly eased the measures to contain Covid-19, Europe is starting to relax. But in the countries of the southern hemisphere, most of which were not affected by the pandemic until later, the curve is in many cases still rising, with considerable disparities in the number of infections. What are their specific problems and what can Europe do for them?

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has presented his reconstruction plan for Italy. The money provided by the EU's recovery fund is to be used to revive the economy, modernise the country and eliminate structural problems. An initiative launched by the prime minister called "Stati generali dell'economia" is to gather ideas from social and economic interest groups. Commentators take a sceptical view of the plans.

In the bid to minimise the economic repercussions of the pandemic, the ECB has decided to increase its bond purchases by 600 billion euros. The emergency programme is now worth 1.35 trillion euros and has been extended until the end of June 2021. The aim is to bolster states and also companies, which will be able to offer lower interest rates on their stocks. An appropriate response or overkill?

Putin has postponed the constitutional reform referendum originally planned for 22 April to 1 July. In response to the pandemic, the vote will take place mostly outdoors and with the option of casting ballots up to a week in advance. For some commentators, it's about time the vote happened; others see propaganda at work.

Last Friday Latvia became the first EU country to launch a Covid-19 tracing app for tracking chains of infection. The state-run app is based on a new programming interface jointly developed by Google and Apple in reaction to the pandemic. However only around 40,000 people have downloaded the app so far.

Germany's grand coalition has agreed to an economic stimulus programme worth 130 billion euros. It lays out 57 points, among them lowering VAT, a 300 euro child bonus, a cap on non-wage labour costs, a buyer's premium on electric cars and further support for businesses and municipalities. The measures provoke controversy among commentators.

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis Sweden has attracted attention for of its liberal approach to the pandemic. But recently critical voices have gained traction due to the country's comparatively high death toll. Leading Swedish virologist Anders Tegnell said on Wednesday that his country's strategy needed to be partially revised. Were the Swedes too uncritical of their authorities?

The total number of new coronavirus infections continues to decline in Europe - although easing measures have been reversed in several countries after the key figures once again started to rise. Commentators take stock these weeks: what lessons has the pandemic taught Europe, and what do we still need to learn?

The number of people going hungry as a result of the measures to contain the pandemic has risen dramatically. At the same time farmers all over the world are unable to offload their products due to disruptions in production processes and supply chains as well as decreasing demand. The crisis is highlighting the interdependencies in the food supply chain, prompting reflection on inadequacies and new solutions.

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is in trouble after a photograph emerged showing him and members of his cabinet at a party in the government building smoking and drinking alcohol and not wearing protective masks. Orban immediately turned himself in after the picture became public and paid a fine of over 500 euros. This won't repair the damage to his image and credibility, commentators write.

On Tuesday evening Hungary ended the state of emergency which had allowed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree since the end of March. The EU Commission had taken a critical view of the move. While the pro-government press is satisfied, opposition media see no cause for relief.

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right Brazilian president, has repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as a "little flu" and described the pandemic as a "media trick". Now Brazil is considered the new hotspot, with more than 25,000 dead and almost 500,000 registered cases of infection. Commentators describe how Bolsonaro's populist policies are making the crisis even worse.

After being forced to close as a result of the pandemic, concert venues, cinemas, theatres and exhibitions have all been in crisis and are still facing severe restrictions on visitors. Commentators call on the state to provide effective support for the revival of the cultural industry after lockdown.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who is under fire for repeatedly violating the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Cummings travelled across the country with his family during the lockdown. Many members of the British public are now accusing their government of double standards, but commentators are divided.

All Europe's governments have now relaxed the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of Covid-19 to varying degrees. Experts are debating whether and to what extent this could lead to a second wave of infections. Commentators reflect on what life will be like with the virus in the coming months.

With the lockdown regulations due to be further relaxed in Hungary this Monday, the social consequences of the coronavirus crisis are now coming into focus. According to official figures 56,000 people in the country lost their jobs in March, and more than half of its companies suffered a drop in turnover of at least 30 percent. Hungarian media discuss how to help marginalised groups.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden are opposing the reconstruction plan put forward by Merkel and Macron, which includes debt mutualisation among EU states. On the weekend the four states presented a counter-proposal that puts a two-year limit on coronavirus emergency aid and foresees cheap loans rather than grants for the worst-hit states. Is this a more sensible plan?

Germany plans to invest nine billion euros in Lufthansa to get it through the coronavirus crisis. The state will take a 20-percent stake in the group but the rescue plan also provides for loans and silent partnerships in the airline. The state's stake will not be large enough to directly block decisions. Commentators nevertheless debate whether this intervention goes too far.

Spain's left-wing minority government under Socialist Prime Minister Sánchez is having increasing difficulties securing a majority in parliament for prolonging the state of emergency coronavirus measures. The government had promised to cancel its predecessors' labour market reform in exchange for the abstention of six MPs from the Basque separatist party (Bildu) in the next vote, but then just a few hours later the cabinet backpaddled. Is this what a stable government looks like?

With the strawberry harvest time coming up, a debate about employing seasonal workers has flared up in Estonia. Despite the calls of farmers and unlike in neighbouring countries, the government is still refusing to let harvest workers into the country due to the risk of infection. The national press criticises this stance and suspects that the far-right government party Ekre's ideological motives are behind it.

Over 100 children born to surrogate mothers are currently stranded in Ukraine because their new parents are not allowed to enter the country due to the pandemic. Using the services of surrogate mothers in Ukraine is a popular option for many Western European couples who can't have their own child, also because of the low costs. Media criticise the way the surrogate mothers are being treated not just in the current crisis.

Germany and France want the EU Commission to earmark 500 billion euros for reconstruction in EU member states after the coronavirus crisis. The fund would be financed with shared EU loans. The plan requires the endorsement of all 27 member states, but countries in Northern and Eastern Europe in particular are critical. What are the arguments for the plan, and what are its chances of being implemented?

In the US presidential election on November 3, Democratic challenger Joe Biden, ex-vice president under Barack Obama, will face Republican incumbent Donald Trump. The election campaign has so far been overshadowed by Covid-19, which has claimed more victims in the US than any other country. Against this background, what are the two candidates' chances?

The CEO of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, Paul Hudson, caused indignation by saying that if the company succeeds in creating an effective coronavirus vaccine the US will likely have first access because of its financial support for Sanofi's research. Although Hudson has since backed down, manufacturers and politicians alike are facing the question of health and fairness.

Airlines plan to gradually to resume their flights to Estonia. However, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs has banned scheduled flights from Sweden, the UK, Belgium, Turkey, Russia and Belarus - countries where the government believes there is a high risk of Covid-19 infection. Estonian media are incensed by the decision.

Covid-19 has shown the people of Europe the importance of having a state with a functioning public health service, education sector, government and agencies. Most countries have coped quite well with the crisis, commentators say, and examine whether this could lead to a long-term change in the relationship between citizens and the state.

In the ongoing process of easing coronavirus restrictions, several European countries have agreed to reopen their borders immediately or in the near future. The European press welcomes this, but some commentators call for clearer criteria and, in the event of future outbreaks, more cooperation in the phase when borders are being closed.

In June it emerged that more than 1,500 workers at Germany's largest meat processing company Tönnies, most of them from Eastern Europe, have been infected with coronavirus. In May a slaughterhouse had already been closed down after a spike in infections among employees. Commentators examine the highly questionable working conditions of Eastern European employees at German plants and the mechanisms behind this situation.

The coronavirus has fundamentally changed how we live, with almost all aspects of life, including the economy, work, leisure and education being affected. Many commentators say now is the time to pause and assess the opportunities arising from the crisis and what life after the pandemic could look like.

Brussels has presented recommendations for tourism in the EU this summer: member states should ensure that hygiene and physical distancing rules are observed and that contacts can be tracked. A condition for the resumption of tourism is that the risk of infection is low, there are sufficient tests, and health systems are not overstretched. Can the plan get the sector back on its feet?

The Turkish lira was already under pressure before the coronavirus crisis. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Turkey it has dropped 20 percent, hitting a record low against the dollar last week. President Erdoğan is blaming foreign financial companies. The pro-government press agrees but opposition voices take a very different view.

On Wednesday evening Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte presented the government's coronavirus aid package. The package is called the "Rilancio" (relaunch) and comprises 55 billion euros in funding for businesses, families and the unemployed. The national press is sceptical about the proposed measures.

In most European countries governments have set up emergency programmes of one form or another to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. But is everything possible being done for everyone, and are the programmes effective? Commentators have their doubts.

Countries with particularly liberal economic systems, such as the UK and the US, have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. And although the effects of the crisis on the global economy are being felt everywhere, the global financial markets have so far remained comparatively stable. For commentators, this all highlights the dysfunctional aspects of today's economy.

Weak healthcare systems, huge slums and a lack of infrastructure: all of these factors could cause the coronavirus pandemic to explode in Africa, experts feared. So far, however, relatively few people have been infected and even fewer have died. And as mortality figures are low, there is no indication that the number of unreported cases exceeds current assessments. Commentators point to the continent's underestimated strengths.

More than 200 teams worldwide are working on a coronavirus vaccination. An international donors' conference organised by the EU gathered 7.4 billion euros to make a vaccination, medications and test materials globally available. The US and China did not participate. There is growing concern in the media that competitive thinking could hinder research efforts.

Protests against the restrictions imposed amidst the coronavirus pandemic are taking place in a growing number of European countries. Last weekend saw demonstrations in Germany, the UK, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Commentators voice understanding for some of the protesters concerns and demands, but warn of the dangers of various different groups coming together at the rallies.

Romania's highest court ruled on Wednesday that fines of up to 4,166 euros for violations of corona restrictions were unconstitutional. The average monthly income in Romania is around 1,100 euros. The country's law enforcement bodies reportedly issued more than 300,000 fines totalling 120 million euros. Is the ruling fair?

The EU Commission is predicting a dramatic 7.7 percent slump in the economy for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Greece is expected to be the worst hit, with a 9.7 percent downturn, followed by Italy and Spain. Commentators see an unprecedented crisis looming, regardless of how governments react.

After increasingly harsh criticism of the government's plan to hold an election during the pandemic, also from within the party ranks, Poland will not be electing a new president on May 10. The ruling PiS, whose candidate and incumbent Andrzej Duda is considered the favourite, has announced that the election will be held in June instead. But since the constitutionality of cancelling the election is in question, much remains unclear.

The US's accusation that China is lying about the origins of the coronavirus is growing ever louder: according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo evidence exists that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. The World Health Organisation criticised Bejing for not letting a WHO mission into the country but has said it considers the accusations unfounded. Commentators cast a critical look at the US.

Russia currently has the highest number of new infections in Europe. In many places hospitals have become hubs of infection. Medical staff are complaining about a lack of protective equipment, which is causing infections and deaths within their ranks. The press also condemn the situation.

In many countries the coronavirus has spread particularly virulently in care homes. This is especially problematic because Covid-19 often affects the elderly most severely. European media accuse the politicians of dire neglect in this area - and point to other blind spots outside the care homes.

The coronavirus crisis has had a massive impact on transportation. Aircraft have been grounded and the number of passengers on buses and trains has plummeted, while cars and bikes are more popular than ever. Commentators examine which means of transportation will win out and whether the crisis can bring about a transport revolution.

The media are facing a paradoxical situation in the coronavirus crisis: although more and more people are using them to stay up to date on the pandemic, media companies are suffering massive losses due to cancelled advertising. A number of governments are planning bailout programmes, but not all journalists are convinced by the plans.

Restrictions, easing of restrictions, aid packages: in times of crisis, governments take control of every aspect of public and private life. Commentators discuss whether a strong state is an advantage in a crisis or whether citizens and businesses shouldn't be asking far more questions.

Covid-19 travel restrictions are still in place in most European countries. But with the holiday season fast approaching, above all regions that are heavily dependent on tourism are working on strategies that make rest and recreation possible while maintaining distancing measures. The crisis should also be used to improve the problematic aspects of the tourism industry, commentators stress.

Donald Tusk, the leader of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and former EU Council President, has called for the presidential election in Poland to be boycotted, arguing that the vote is unconstitutional. The government in Warsaw has been under fire for weeks for going ahead with plans to hold the election on 10 May - albeit entirely by postal vote - despite the pandemic.

The EU member states plan to exercise utmost caution in relaxing the border controls introduced in the corona crisis. Following a video conference with his colleagues, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, acting in his capacity as EU Council President, said: "We all agreed that above all we must prevent new waves of infection". He did not mention any concrete schedule for the opening of borders. This course meets with a mixed response in the press.

The airline industry has been hard hit in the coronavirus crisis. People have stopped flying, leaving airlines and aircraft manufacturers fighting for survival. Governments in many countries are now considering whether to bail out the industry. Commentators look at what's at stake in terms of jobs, passenger rights and climate protection.

Schools across Europe have been closed for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are trying to supply pupils with schoolwork and materials via the Internet, but conditions for learning at home vary greatly from household to household. An intense debate about how soon children should return to school and how health protection measures and education can be reconciled is unfolding in the media.

China appears to have succeeded in watering down an EU report that clearly listed Beijing's mistakes in the coronavirus crisis. According to the European External Action Service (EEAS) report, government sources in Russia and China have been spreading false information about the pandemic. Commentators discuss the motives behind Beijing's disinformation policy and how Europe should respond.

While many European countries are discussing when and under what conditions football matches can be played again, the Netherlands has become the first major football nation to cancel the professional football season. The clubs there are protesting and one of them is even threatening to sue. Commentators discuss whether protection against Covid-19 is more important than football's function in society.

In mid-April the US magazine Forbes put forward the attention-grabbing thesis that countries led by women have better strategies for dealing with the coronavirus crisis and fewer deaths. This was particularly clear when such countries are compared with the United States and Britain for example, the article said. The thesis is still the subject of fierce debate on social networks and in the media, although some find it unconvincing.

The Netherlands and France have announced that they will provide billions in aid for the airline holding Air France-KLM to get it through the coronavirus crisis. Both countries hold a stake in the company. Dutch commentators voice dismay.

The easing of lockdown measures to contain Covid-19 is bringing a little normality back into daily life in many European countries. Shops are open once more, children are returning to schools, and there are fewer restrictions on outdoor activities. Commentators describe how the human factor is causing problems and surprises in this readjustment phase.

Turkey's Grand National Assembly celebrated its 100th anniversary on Friday. Official ceremonies took place in the First Parliament Building in Ankara, but due to the corona pandemic the customary public celebrations were cancelled. The commemoration was unworthy of this historical occasion, commentators believe.

The Muslim month of fasting is taking place under unusual circumstances this year. Due to the coronavirus crisis mosques in many countries are remaining closed during prayer times, and pilgrimages and public breaking of the fast are forbidden. How can the meaning of Ramadan nonetheless be preserved?

In their video conference on Thursday the EU leaders approved a coronavirus aid package of up to 540 billion euros in loans. Starting in June, the loans will be made available to companies, indebted states and short-time work schemes. Joint coronabonds, however, were rejected. Is this result a sign of cohesion or does it cement the rifts within Europe?

On Saturday Portugal will celebrate its Freedom Day: after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, which brought António de Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship to an end, April 25th became a national holiday. The Portuguese will have to stay at home this year because of the pandemic, but the country's MPs want to hold an official ceremony with 100 people in the parliament. Is this warranted or totally inappropriate?

Only last week the International Monetary Fund predicted the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the coronavirus pandemic. The worldwide economic depression led to mass unemployment and promoted the rise of fascism. Commentators are divided about whether we are menaced by a similar scenario.

Scientists have rarely received as much media attention as they are now in the coronavirus crisis. Leading virologists and epidemiologists as well as the heads of government agencies have become the face of the crisis in their respective countries. Europe's press warn against false expectations and blind trust.

Several European countries are discussing the idea of introducing tracking apps used by citizens on a voluntary basis as a means of enabling a return to normality. These apps, which have already been used in countries like South Korea, would keep users informed about contact with infected persons. Commentators debate whether they are really useful enough to justify the surveillance they entail.

Many people are having to accept financial losses in the coronavirus crisis and there are calls for politicians to also renounce part of their income. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cut her salary by 20 percent and Austria's ministers plan to each donate one month's salary. Europe's media are divided on whether such sacrifices are a necessary gesture of solidarity.

Another summit of EU leaders aimed at tackling the coronavirus crisis is slated for Thursday. The main topic of discussion will be a common strategy for lifting the pandemic measures and further cushioning the economic impact. But the lack of consensus of recent weeks has not diminished. Commentators call for swift and far-sighted action.

In the throes of the coronavirus pandemic oil prices on the New York Stock Exchange have plunged into the negative for the first time in history. The price of US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil for May delivery was minus 37.63 dollars per barrel at the close of trading on Monday. Could the pandemic spell the end of the oil era?

After a few weeks of lockdown doubts about the appropriateness of various measures have been expressed in many European countries. Is a comprehensive ban on demonstrations really justified? And what about the freedom of movement? Europe's press calls for careful reflection on the anti-democratic pitfalls of health protection.

Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter this weekend. The coronavirus crisis also left its mark on these celebrations. Services were held in empty churches and the faithful stayed at home. Media in Greece, Romania and Russia draw their conclusions regarding this unusual Easter.

More and more European countries are beginning to ease their lockdown measures. Since Saturday Spaniards are allowed to go for a walk again at certain times of the day based on age groups. And the Greeks no longer need to show a permit sent by text message when they want to venture outside of their homes. Commentators reflect on whether life will now go back to how it was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

After being forced to postpone the negotiations due to coronavirus, the EU and Britain are resuming the efforts to define their post-Brexit relations this week. London does not want to extend the transitional period for leaving the EU which is scheduled to end on 31 December. Media discuss whether this is a responsible position in view of the current battle against the repercussions of the pandemic.

Lombardy is the beating heart of Italy's economy but it is currently one of the regions hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic at a global level. On Saturday alone, 94 percent of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in Italy were registered there. The Italian press examines the reasons.

The battle against the coronavirus pandemic and the discussion about easing the restrictions have morphed into a generation conflict: on the one side the health of the old and the weak, on the other the wellbeing and economic survival of younger generations. Europe's media see this as an almost unsolvable moral dilemma.

President Trump on Tuesday put US contributions to the World Health Organization on hold pending a review of the role played by the WHO in the "poor handling and cover-up of the spread of coronavirus". Commentators find criticism of the organisation appropriate but take very different views of Trump's decision.

Churchgoers in Romania were to be able to pick up blessed bread outside churches for Orthodox Easter, despite the coronavirus. Now Interior Minister Vela has backpedalled in the wake of harsh criticism. Instead the bread and "holy fire" are to be brought to people's homes on request. For the press this is the only sensible decision, despite the importance attached to Easter in Romania.

The Italian government has announced that it will not accept 39 billion euros from the EU's coronavirus rescue package. Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Antonio Misiani said his country would only use the aid for short-time work schemes and the loans from the European Investment Bank. What is behind this rejection?

In his fourth televised address on the corona crisis, French President Macron on Monday night admitted mistakes in the efforts to fight the pandemic. In recent weeks the government has been heavily criticised for poor crisis management, failing to provide sufficient protective equipment, delays and contradictions. Journalists take different views of the speech.

Calls for an unconditional basic income to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are growing louder. Spain's government says it is already planning the introduction of a lifelong basic income for all. Commentators discuss whether the measure makes sense and how it can be financed.

As the focus of global debate slowly shifts from curbing the coronavirus to how to end the social and economic restrictions, previously dominant "green" issues such as climate protection seem to have disappeared from the political and social agenda. Europe's press stresses in unison that these issues are no less urgent than they were before - on the contrary.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the coronavirus pandemic will spark the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. GDPs are set to shrink by 7.5 percent in the Eurozone and around three percent globally. Europe's press voices concern and discusses the consequences.

Observers note that the pandemic seems to be exacerbating the conflict between the generations. The coronavirus meme "boomer remover" - an allusion to the fact that older people are among the main risk groups - has been circulating on social networks, sparking outrage in the media.

There have been repeated warnings about the potential impact of Covid-19 in African states on the grounds that HealthCare systems there are particularly ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic. Commentators refute this view and denounce racist attitudes in the discussion about the illness.

Coronavirus restrictions are leading to a shortage of hundreds of thousands of harvest workers from abroad. Despite the restrictions, specially authorised planes carrying seasonal workers from Romania have been landing in Germany for the past two weeks. Images from the Romanian city of Cluj made negative headlines when around 2,000 passengers waiting for flights formed a large crowd outside its airport on April 9. Is something fundamentally wrong in the farming industry?

Shortly before Easter the EU finance ministers adopted the largest rescue package in the history of the bloc: 540 billion euros are to be made available in the form of loans to businesses and states as well as to support unemployment funds. The controversial coronabonds are, however, off the table for the time being. Commentators are for the most part sceptical about the deal.

In 2018 only 15 percent of employees in the EU worked from home. That figure has risen dramatically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Commentators outline the challenges of working within one's own four walls.

The restrictions of social distancing are making it difficult for people to come into contact with one another. Especially those who have neither a partner nor family are feeling increasingly isolated. But the pandemic is also not without consequences for relationships between couples and friends. Commentators describe a world without physical contact caught between fatalism, longing and hope.

Easter, the most important Christian celebration, is just around the corner, but this year things will be very different. As a result of curfews and social distancing, church doors will remain closed and services will not take place. The churches have resorted to online services and the Pope will also stream live from Rome. Media discuss the shutdown's impact on believers.

While some European countries have made wearing a face mask mandatory for shopping or going out in public in general, other governments are hesitating to introduce such rules due to doubts about their efficacy and lacking availability. Some states are now planning to lift the requirement altogether. So the mask remains a hot topic in the media.

In the battle against the novel coronavirus almost every state is relying on restrictive measures that limit the freedoms of their citizens. However some have gone further than others. Journalists discuss whether dictatorships are growing stronger under the guise of fighting the pandemic or whether authoritarian rulers will eventually have to realise that they are powerless against the virus.

Austria's government plans to start gradually easing the lockdown next week. Smaller shops and handicraft businesses will be able to open under certain conditions, with more to follow in May. While some media warn against the move, others see it as the result of a responsible policy.

EU finance ministers will on Tuesday once again discuss the introduction of joint bonds in a bid to mitigate the economic consequences of the corona crisis. Italy and Spain are strong advocates of such eurobonds, while Germany and the Netherlands have so far rejected them. Commentators warn that the EU could run aground over this issue.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is ill with Covid-19, was transferred to intensive care on Monday evening. The 55-year-old's state of health had deteriorated, a statement said. Johnson's negligence in dealing with the coronavirus threat has put himself and his country in danger, the media fear.

In a televised address Queen Elizabeth has called on the British to be strong in face of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that she hopes that in the years to come people will be proud of how they faced this challenge. The queen normally only addresses the nation in her Christmas speech. But this message was more than worthwhile, journalists concur.

Austria has taken the initiative and began easing its lockdown measures for containing the coronavirus on Tuesday. Plans for an exit strategy from the restrictions are also being made in other European countries. Journalists discuss when such steps can be taken and what dilemmas societies face.

The EU Commission has announced the introduction of a short time work scheme aimed at enabling companies that have had to discontinue or reduce their production because of the coronavirus crisis to continue to employ their workers. The Commission plans to take out 100 billion in loans to finance the measure. Not all media are convinced that this is a genuine display of solidarity.

Romania's healthcare system was suffering from brain drain even before the corona crisis. Now the country is also suffering from massive shortages of protective equipment. Local media report that medical staff are refusing to work in some hospitals. Is this understandable or irresponsible? National media take different views.

Instead of imposing a nationwide curfew as expected, Erdoğan on Tuesday announced a "Campaign of National Solidarity", calling on citizens to make donations to all those who lose their jobs as a result of the corona pandemic. Critics fear that the money will end up mostly in the pockets of pro-government companies. Turkish media are divided along the usual lines in their assessment of the measure.

In many European countries, school pupils have been taught online at home for several weeks because schools were closed in the efforts to fight the pandemic. But not all children have a computer of their own, or even access to the Internet. European media stress that this has exacerbated social inequalities, but also urge caution in the process of reopening schools.

Throughout Europe countries are running out of protective face masks, most of which are produced in China. Germany imposed an export ban at the beginning of March and now the Czech Republic has followed suit. In France all stocks were confiscated so they could be distributed to health workers. Commentators discuss ways to deal with the shortages.

Most of the European countries that already have lockdown restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have extended them until Easter or shortly thereafter. However experts and many commentators expect the more or less strict lockdowns to continue beyond that point - and are looking at how to tackle this challenging situation.

The corona crisis is also shaking up international politics. Conflicting parties are suddenly confronting the same threat and long-established alliances are being called into question. Journalists discuss what radical changes could persist even after the pandemic.

Poland is sticking to its plan of holding presidental elections on 10 May. The parliament in Warsaw made the decision on Monday on the basis of the crisis law passed at the end of March. Although all Poles rather than (as the government had originally planned) just those over 60, who are mostly PiS voters, will now vote by mail, criticism is rife among commentators.

EU Commission President von der Leyen has warned EU states against disproportionate crisis measures. With its approval of an emergency law, Hungary's parliament had previously given Prime Minister Orbán power to govern by decree for an unlimited time. Europe's press is worried that the model could set a precedent and demands swift action from Brussels.

Covid-19 is also confronting the US with a sad reality: there have now been more than 2,400 fatalities and over 140,000 confirmed cases. President Trump, who had talked of lifting containment measures such as social distancing before Easter, has now announced that they will be extended until April 30. But according to commentators the country is appallingly ill-equipped for such a crisis.

Measures to stop the spread of Sars-Cov-2 are facing people with unprecedented challenges. Some are trying to juggle work at home with childcare, while others are worried about losing their entire livelihood. Commentators reflect on the long-term consequences of the state of emergency and how states should react.

The leaders of the G20 states have agreed in a video conference to invest 4.5 trillion euros in the global economy and expand production of medical supplies. Appeals to show greater solidarity with the countries of the Southern Hemisphere, however, were left unaddressed. Commentators push for concrete action.

The curfews in many European countries are mainly aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus. Because if too many people fall ill at the same time, even an optimal system will collapse sooner or later. But the systems in many states are far from perfect, commentators note with some bitterness.

Not only US President Trump but also European politicians and scientists are already thinking out loud about easing the restrictions to contain Covid-19 and calling for corresponding strategies. The days after Easter are being mentioned as the time to start relaxing the measures. Commentators wonder whether such demands are not a little premature.

All over the world curfews and business closures are posing a challenge for society. Many people are showing solidarity with others in new ways: doing shopping for people they didn't know before and offering words of encouragement. At the same time there is growing distrust of those who - actually or allegedly - break the rules.

Russian authorities have reacted angrily to media reports that Russia's comparatively low Covid-19 mortality rate was the result of skewed numbers. Now, official data appears to support the criticism, but it remains unclear whether the numbers were deliberately manipulated or simply the result of careless recording. What to make of the affair?

Only two months have passed since the first Sars-CoV-2 infection was discovered in Europe but the virus has already caused major economic damage and brought radical changes to daily life. Governments are discussing appropriate aid packages and Eurobonds. The market cannot regulate itself in times of crisis, some argue. Others warn against protectionism or voice hopes for the creation of a whole new system.

Despite a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the US, President Trump has said he wants to ease the social distancing measures soon, arguing that a recession would kill more people than the Covid-19 pandemic. "We can't let the cure be worse than the problem," he said in an interview with TV channel Fox News. Is he right?

From the beginning, Sweden refrained from adopting tough measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Its borders and primary schools have remained open and there are no restrictions on leaving home. However in view of the rising mortality rate critical voices are growing louder, also in Sweden. The divided opinions on the approach are reflected in the media.

The 27 EU states have postponed taking a decision on the introduction of Eurobonds as a joint instrument for tackling the economic consequences of the corona crisis. While Italy and Spain are urgently demanding "corona bonds", countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Austria oppose the idea. Commentators analyse the background and implications of the conflict.

The corona crisis is challenging certainties everywhere. What will our daily lives look like a few months from now? Will the world order collapse, or will the repercussions of the virus be manageable? Commentators also ask whether society will be different after the pandemic - and whether this is a desirable outcome.

Public life in Italy has been shut down for two weeks. In view of the Corona pandemic, disputes between the government and the opposition had initially died down. But when Prime Minister Conte recently decreed an almost complete shutdown of the economy, Lega chief Matteo Salvini in particular responded by calling for Parliament to be more involved in the decision making. Is he right?

Today, Maundy Thursday, the finance ministers of the Eurogroup will make another attempt at reaching an agreement on a comprehensive coronavirus rescue package. The main bone of contention is whether the package should include so-called coronabonds in addition to easier credit terms, a guarantee fund and a short-time work scheme. The press discusses what the EU's strategy for managing the crisis should be - also beyond money issues.

Only a minority of European countries are still relying on recommendations and voluntary social distancing measures in the corona crisis. Most have implemented varying degrees of lockdown and in many cases declared a state of emergency. Commentators warn against the erosion of the rule of law.

People standing at windows and balconies and applauding medical staff has become a gesture of solidarity during the corona crisis. But it's not just hospital staff who are being seen in a new light. The restrictions of lockdown are prompting commentators to reflect on which professions are most important for society.

The Hungarian government presented a draft law on Friday that, if passed, would enable it to rule by decree for an unlimited period. Budapest would be able to extend the state of emergency declared on 11 March over the Covid-19 pandemic without parliament's approval. Currently the state of emergency is revised by parliament every 15 days. What motives are behind the initiative?

Plays, concerts, readings: cultural life has also been forced to take a break in order to slow the spread of the virus. But many artists are finding creative, mostly digital ways of making their art audible and visible. Commentators applaud their efforts.

In Italy, the European country worst hit by the corona crisis, the government has once again stepped up measures to contain the virus. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on the weekend that all businesses except those that guarantee essential goods and services must now close. The press wonders if this is the right approaach.

The fight against the coronavirus is imposing considerable constraints and burdens on everyone. Politicians and celebrities are calling for social cohesion and solidarity - but some people seem to feel these calls don't apply to them. The media debate who bears which responsibilities in this crisis.

So far not a single case of Covid-19 has been registered in the hotspots on the Aegean Islands. Nonetheless, stringent measures now also apply for the refugees living there. Now only a single family member is allowed to do the shopping. And health stations are to be set up to deal with cases of infection. NGOs, however, are calling for the camps to be evacuated - and commentators agree.

To combat the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic the ECB has announced plans to spend another 750 billion euros on bond purchases. This comes after last week's announcement that it would invest 120 billion euros in bond-buying. The measure is aimed at lowering the interest rates at which states and companies can borrow money. Is this the right response to the crisis?

Many countries have declared a state of emergency and imposed curfews in a bid to combat the spread of the corona pandemic. In Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Denmark, for example, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent reasons.

Isolated at home from one day to the next, millions of people in Europe are having to adapt to radically changed living conditions. And even where freedom of movement is not yet restricted, many people are voluntarily isolating themselves to slow the spread of coronavirus. Journalists encourage readers to make the best of the situation.

As the coronavirus spreads from Wuhan to the rest of the world, China's goverment claims its drastic measures have brought it under control there. Businesses in the affected areas are now opening once more and Beijing is presenting itself as an expert advisor and sending medical supplies to other parts of the world. Politicians and the press debate whether China can serve as a role model for Europe.

European leaders agreed on Tuesday to close the EU's external borders so as to contain Covid-19. The entry ban will initially apply for 30 days. In addition, EU Council President Charles Michel assured European businesses that "whatever it takes" would be done to cushion the impact of the crisis. Commentators are unanimous that so far the EU hasn't cut a good figure in its efforts to fight the pandemic.

In a bid to combat the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the ECB has announced new loans to banks to support the flow of credit into the economy, but has left the base interest rate unchanged. Brussels has announced a financial aid package of 7.5 billion euros, which is to be increased to 25 billion later on. Commentators have doubts about whether these measures will be adequate.

A number of measures have been taken by both states and private individuals around the world to combat SARS-CoV-2, including major restrictions on travel, production and transport. This has led to a significant reduction in negative environmental influences in many places. But commentators don't believe the measures will stop climate change in the long term.

Italy's government has expanded the lockdown of 15 provinces in the "red zone" in the north to the whole country in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. All public institutions are closed and all sport events have been cancelled. The death toll has climbed to more than 460. Commentators say the country's citizens also share responsibility for this drastic step.

The Covid-19 pandemic is putting a major strain on Europe's healthcare systems and economies: hospitals are having to turn away patients, schools and cultural institutions are being closed and entire business sectors are crippled, posing a challenge for the population as a whole. Commentators examine how the virus is changing how politicians, entrepreneurs and citizens think and act.

According to the WHO coronavirus has now spread to more than 87 countries and around 98,000 cases have been registered worldwide. Infection numbers are rising daily in Europe, where more than 150 people have died of the virus, most of them in Italy. Europe's press wonders how the epidemic will alter our societies and our future.

In view of the rapid spread of coronavirus in Italy, the government in Rome is meeting with representatives from neighbouring countries Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany to discuss what further measures should be taken. The number of infections now exceeds 220. Commentaries range from cool-headed reflection to borderline panic.

Coronavirus continues to spread, with the number of registered cases in Italy having risen to more than 320. Many observers fear the epidemic will also cause major economic damage due to production losses, disrupted supply chains and a decline in consumption. Others sense opportunities amid the dangers.

Beijing on Tuesday demanded an apology from Jyllands-Posten after the Danish newspaper published a satirical drawing featuring a Chinese flag with each of the stars depicted as coronaviruses. Stockholm had already summoned China's ambassador in mid-January for repeatedly trying to put pressure on public television broadcasters and newspapers. Danish and Swedish media agree that they must not give in to the Chinese on this issue.

Coronavirus, the first cases of which were discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, continues to spread across the globe. So far more than 42,000 cases of infection and 1,113 deaths have been registered. European media praise China for its exemplary commitment to fighting the disease despite widespread criticism and examine unexpected side effects.