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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This live blog has been running daily since 19 March. You can read earlier blogs here
Thursday, 30 April 2020
14.00 CEST (1600 Tbilisi/Dubai)
We are now closing this blog.
Over the last seven weeks we have explored various issues related to the spread of the coronavirus in the world in these daily live blogs. The battle against coronavirus has not been won yet. But we certainly see that that the tide is turning. We will continue following the topic in its various parameters on commonspace.eu
We want to thank all those who have been following this blog, and especially those who have contributed to it from our teams in The Hague and in Tbilisi in Georgia
We wish you all a good evening.
Be Safe! Be Healthy! Be Happy!
1345 CEST (1545 (Tbilisi/Dubai)
More updates from Europe collected by Maximiliaan van Lange
In Germany, the Robert Koch-Institut today (April 30) reports 173 new deaths by Covid-19, slightly fewer than yesterday (April 29). A total of 6,288 people died in Germany as a result of Covid-19. The German reproduction number, which shows how many people are infected by one virus carrier, caused disquiet in Germany yesterday (April 29). The number rose from 0.7 to around 1.0. This means that on average, each corona patient infects one other person. The German government will probably decide later today on an extension of the lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The intention would be to extend the measures until 10 May.
In the capital city of Amsterdam, pop venues and nightclubs will remain closed until 1 September. Yesterday (29 April), the Amsterdam Safety Region determined in a new emergency ordinance that they are subject to the same regulations as events.
According to the Czech authorities, the spread of Covid-19 is under control and the economy is cautiously being reopened. The number of new destinations is below 100 for the eighth consecutive day. There are 7581 confirmed cases of infection and the infection rate has fallen to 0,7.
Some of the shops in the country have already been reopened and non-acute care is being provided again.
More shops will open on 11 and 25 May. Schools will not reopen until September. It remains compulsory to wear mouth masks in public, and large gatherings remain prohibited. The head of the epidemiological team advising the ministry says that further relaxations are risky.
The French economy has had its worst quarter ever. Since the federal statistics bureau, INSEE started measuring in 1949, the economy has never shrunk as much as in the first three months of 2020: by 5.8 per cent. This means that France is officially in recession. By way of comparison: in the last quarter of 2019, French GDP shrank by 0.1 per cent.
Forty prisoners eligible for early release were discharged from prisons in the United Kingdom today (30 April).
1325 CEST (1525 Tbilisi/Dubai)
The economic impact of the pandemic in Europe
Our colleague Maximiliaan van Lange has been looking at figures issued by Eurostat
According to research carried out by Directorate-General Eurostat, the euro area economy declined by 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter.
The new rate is released a few hours before a press conference of the European Central Bank (ECB). This rate is the largest contraction in the EU since measurements began in 1995 and thus larger than the contraction at the height of the credit crisis in 2009.
The unemployment rate in the euro area has increased from 7.3 to 7.4 per cent since January. This relatively small increase is due to the emergency packages put in place by the different euro area countries to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19. Across the European Union as a whole, the unemployment rate stands at 6.6 per cent.
1300 CEST (1500 Tbilisi/Dubai)
Georgia starts opening its farmers markets
Georgia is an agricultural country. Agriculture is an important part of the economy, but also is the main source for food consumed by people, with shops and supermarkets an addition rather than a main source.
At the moment, 24 out of the 80 farmers markets are operating throughout Georgia, according to InterpressNews citing information from the National Food Agency.
According to the agency, the agrarian markets are being opened step by step and at the same time, the implementation of the recommendations to traders and buyers is being monitored.
1245 CEST (1445 Tbilisi/Dubai)
Has love been on hold during the pandemic?
There are different opinions as to whether the pandemic has helped bring people together or made them more distant from each other. Certainly many have had a lot of time to spend with their loved ones if they are living in the same household.
But how about that first date? Somewhat awkward if you are social distancing, and that mask is not very helpful if you want to give a first kiss. This cartoon sort of sums up the new reality.
1215 CEST (1415 Tbilisi/Dubai)
The Middle East is one area where the pandemic is still spreading and where more problems are expected in some countries, whilst in others the process of opening up has started.. So whilst we celebrate progress in its containment, especially in Asia and in Europe, we must remember that in some countries the peak has yet to be reached. Our colleague Noman Ahmed from our research team has updates from across the MENA region
Egypt’s Health Ministry reviewed the government’s plan to combat the spread of coronavirus,
The Health Minister Hala Zayed said the plan is based on a 14-day review of the epidemiological situation and urged authorities to set penalties for all violators of COVID-19 regulations. The strategy will cover companies, malls, markets and transportation while high risk areas will remain closed. Reopened areas will check the temperature of all visitors and allocate an isolation room for suspected cases. The government also urged business to cut the number of shifts and employees.
Egypt has 5268 confirmed cases, 380 deaths and 1335 recoveries.
Jordan will allow shops inside malls to open. They will remain subject to strict safety procedures.
Arcades, cinemas, cafes and restaurants will remain closed as Jordan gradually eases its lockdown measures.
Curfew restrictions in more governorates were lifted as well.
Saudi Arabia opened stores and shopping malls yesterday from 9 AM to 5 PM with a strict set of rules in place. Shoppers undergo a temperature check and will have to wear masks and keep a distance. Those under 15 are not allowed entry to shops. Entertainment venues will remain closed along with fitting and prayer rooms.
Tunisia will start relaxing its coronavirus lockdown next week, reopening parts of the food and construction sectors and allowing half of government employees to return to work.
Its lockdown, in place since March, has stopped 25,000 cases of the virus and 1,000 deaths, Health Minister Abdelatif el-Makki said that the lockdown has stopped 25,000 cases of infection and prevented 1000 deaths.
"Tunisia has controlled the first wave of the pandemic, but we do not know about a possible second wave," el-Makki said.
Tunisia's economy is expected to shrink by 4.3% this year as a result of the crisis, according to the IMF.
Good day and welcome to this live blog on commonspace.eu
It is Thursday, 30 April 2020 – 12 noon Central European Summer Time, equivalent to 14.00 hours in Tbilisi and in Dubai
This is the last live blog in the series “Defeating Coronavirus”. We have run this blog everyday over the last seven weeks as the story of the spread of the coronavirus developed, looking at the hard statistics and the sad reality behind them. As of now, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world are 3,232,490, and 228,513 people have died. Certainly the crisis is not over yet, and the economic and political implications of it are only just starting to be understood and felt. But we are in a different place than was the case in the middle of March. Then – and it seems like a long time ago – many countries feared they were going to be overwhelmed by the virus and the distraction it sows. Fortunately that has not been the case. Thanks to humanities resilience, including by accepting in many countries an unprecedented lockdown, the pandemic is being slowly brought under control. The risks are still high, but the situation is different.
Many millions of people are starting to slowly emerge from their homes, blurry eyed, some damaged, some inspired by the experience of the last weeks. Certainly everyone is now much more aware of the beauty of nature and open spaces. We have chosen as our cover page for this last live blog in the series, a picture of the tulip fields of Holland. They remind us of the beauty of nature, and particularly of flowers that bright our lives. Commonspace.eu will continue covering the story of coronavirus as part of its regular news coverage, and we may have other live blogs in the future on particular aspects of the story.
Specialists at the University of Sheffield in the UK estimate that the blast had about one tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War Two and was "unquestionably one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history".