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Live Blog - 28 April 2020
28 April 2020

Our live blog on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the world is on every day throughouit the month of April

This blog is compiled by our team of journalists and researchers based in The Hague in the Netherlands and in Tbilisi, Georgia, working with partners and associates in a number of different countries. You can also follow us on twitter @commonspaceEU. We are happy to hear from you wherever you are. Please send us your comments, stories and suggestions by email to editor@commonspace.eu

This live blog has been running daily since 19 March. You can read earlier blogs here

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Tuesday, 28 April 2020 

1400 CEST (1600 Tbilisi/Dubai)

We are now pausing this live blog for today.

We are back tomorrow Wednesday, 29 April at 1200 midday CEST (1400 in Tbilisi and Dubai)

Till then from all of us in The Hague and in Tbilisi a very good evening.

Be Safe! Be Healthy! Be Happy! 

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1345 CEST (1545 Tbilisi/Dubai)

For our wellness moment for today we go as usual to William Murray. Today he suggests that if the lockdown is making us feel isolated, we may try joining in a quiz game. And yes, this can be done virtually from the comfort of your home. Read more about it in today's wellness corner on commonspace.eu here

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1330 CEST (1530 Tbilisi/Dubai)

We would now like to have a look at developments across the Caucasus Region

   Armenia

The number of covid-19 cases in Armenia is now 1867, and there have been thirty deaths.

In Armenia, as in the other South Caucasus countries, the economic impact iof the crisis looms large in the efforts of the government. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that a difficult situation may remain for at least a year.

It was also reported that following the conversation between the Armenian President and the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on April 27 medical supplies were sent to Armenia by a special flight. The entire supply is a donation from the Government and people of the UAE as a sign of friendship and unique attitude towards Armenia. 

  Georgia

In Georgia the number opf cases is 511 and six people have died.

In Georgia too the public debate is shifting to the economic challenges ahead. Georgia has kept the number of covid-19 cases very low. Dealiong with the economic fallout may however prove more difficult. The government is starting to ease the lockdown but is trying to do so very slowly in case there is a second wave.

  Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan reports 1678 covid-19 cases and 22 deaths.

The Government is also concerned about the economic impact of the lockdown and there is some easing of the quarantine regimne that has been in place now for several weeks.

Looking on the positive side of things, it was announced today that the Formula 1 races will be held in Azerbaijan on September 6.

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1310 CEST (1510 Tbilisi/Dubai)

The politics of Corona

The Corona crisis will undoubtedlky define global politics for many years to come. The level of human disruption has been so huge, and the economic costs so high, that the political consequences will necessarily be profound.

  One country bracing for this is China.

The independent Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post had this to say this morning:

[China's president] Xi said at the last meeting of the Politburo, the centre of power within the Communist Party, that China must make "ideological and work preparations" to respond to changes in the outside world that could last for a long time to come.

The comments were a marked shift from the central leadership's previous view that China was in a historic "period of strategic opportunity", a line of thinking that has been fading from official statements since last year.
Beijing's war of words with Washington has added to the perception of growing global hostility towards China and further fanned nationalist sentiment at home.

 

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1255 CEST (1455 Tbilisi/Dubai)

We like this tween and we just shared it.

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1230 CEST (1430 Tbilisi/Dubai)

  In many European Union Member States, stage 'two' of the fight against covid-19 has started enabling the process of easing some of the anti-virus measures to be carefully initiated. We have a round-up of updates from some European countries prepared by Maximiliaan van Lange, a member of our research team.

We start this report on Europe with the results of research conducted by the Italian Institute for the Study of International Politics (ISPI). 

Research by the ISPI shows that the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 is considerably higher than the official figures. Correct figures are available from seven Member States, which allowed researchers to investigate the difference between official deaths and the number of additional deaths above the average of previous years. A comparison of seven European countries shows that, in percentage terms, the difference is highest in the Netherlands. In the United Kingdom, the ISPI considered the official figures to be underestimated by 93 per cent (more than 8,000 deaths). For Spain and Italy, the number of actual deaths is about 35 per cent higher.

The ISPI  report shows the impact of Covid-19 by comparing these adjusted figures with the number of inhabitants. Then Spain is hit hardest, with 663 deaths per million inhabitants. Then Italy (586), UK (554), the Netherlands (524), France (482), Sweden (295) and Switzerland (246).

source: Corriere della Sera, Milan

  UK

In the United Kingdom, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking measures for supporting relatives of healthcare workers. Family members of healthcare workers who die as a result of Covid-19 now receive a one-off payment of £60,000 in support.

This is a picture of prime minister Boris Johson marking a one minute silence in memory of doctors, nurses and front line staff who have died fighting covid-19 in the last weeks. The picture was taken at the Cabinet Roiom at 10 Downing Street.

 Germany

In Germany, the tourist sector has been hit hard by measures against the spread of Covid-19. The measures against the pandemic cost the tourist sector a total of EUR 24 billion in April and March.

 Czech Republic

Since 22 April, the daily number of new Covid-19 infections has not exceeded one hundred in the Czech Republic. Today (28 April) the country reports 41 new infections. This brings the total number of infections to 7,449. The country has 223 deceased as a result of Covid-19. In the country the government relaxes more and more measures. Shops and public facilities have been reopened. Experts in the country warn that the government may be implementing these measures too quickly.

  Spain

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the police in Spain have already handed out almost 750,000 fines to citizens who have violated the measures. In the forty days since the outbreak, the police have already handed out as many fines based on new legislation as in the period between 2015 and 2018.

  Austria

Austria will further relax the Covid-19 measures according to Minister of Health, Rudolf Anschober. Meetings of up to ten people will be allowed from Friday (1 May) onwards. From 15 May, catering establishments will also be allowed to reopen their doors. No more than four adults (and their children) can sit at a table and catering staff must wear a mouth guard. From 15 May it is also possible again to visit places of interest in the open air, such as zoos. Hotels and indoor recreational facilities, including swimming pools, will reopen on 29 May.

 

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1205 CEST (1405 Tbilisi/Dubai)

  Israel

Our first story today is from Israel. Our team member Noman Ahmed has chosen this story about a Arab-Israeli doctor in the port city of Haifa.

An Arab-Israeli doctor is leading the fight against the #coronavirus in a hospital near Haifa. Khitam Hussein is a member of Israel's often marginalized Arab community, but she now plays an important role in the crisis. She leads the outbreak response at the Rambam Hospital, the largest hospital in northern Israel. 

"It is incredibly difficult work, no day is like another," she said. "Our lives have been turned upside down."

Arab-Israelis are the descendants of Palestinians who remained after 1948 and they are heavily represented in the medical sector. Many Israeli artists held online fundraisers for the Rambam hospital, hailing it as a symbol of coexistence between Arabs and Jews.

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Good day and welcome to this live blog on commonspace.eu.

It is 12 noon CEST, equivalent to 14.00 hours in Tbilisi and in Dubai.

It is also 11.00 am in Britain, and at this very moment the British people are observing a one minute silence to honour the memory of doctors, nurses and other front line services who have died from covid 19 in the last weeks. Their numbers now exceed 100. We join them in this moment of silence.

Some of the doctors, nurses and frontline staff who

died in the UK because of covid-19

Tributes to doctors, nurses and front line workers in the battle against covid-19 have been expressed by communities all over the world - through acts such as clapping, and not least through art. Our cover picture for today's blog is a cartoon that has become very popular on social media in Georgia. It shows a health worker wearing a mask cradeling a baby Georgia - a simple and powerful message.

 

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