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EU Proposes €750bn Virus Recovery Package

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The European Union’s executive Commission has proposed a major recovery fund worth €750bn ($825bn) to help the bloc tackle an “unprecedented crisis”.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said in Frankfurt on Wednesday that the eurozone GDP is likely to fall by between 8% and 12% in 2020, adding that the matter of issuing grants to EU countries struggling from the COVID-19 outbreak is a contentious one, as it pits member states against each other.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will officially present the recovery plan to the European Parliament. She will also put forward a proposal for the EU’s next budget covering 2021-2027, reportedly of around €1tn.

Ursula von der Leyen said “this is Europe’s moment”.

The Commission has dubbed the plan Next Generation EU. Without the backing of all 27 EU member states, it cannot go ahead. But Germany and France have backed plans for the money to be raised on the capital markets.

Health News

Canada: COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 12000

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Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have passed another grim milestone of 12, 000 fatalities.

The country also recorded fifty-four hundred sixty-eight new cases of coronavirus infections which pushed the total number of confirmed cases to 370,014.  More than 290,000 persons have recovered from the virus.

A new report from an epidemiological analysis showed about 90 per cent of those who died were seniors, from 70 years and older.

The data also shows a significant increase in patients hospitalized from the virus.

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World News

New York City Will Reopen Elementary Schools And Reduce Hybrid Learning

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New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has confirmed public elementary schools will begin reopening next Monday.

The largest public school system in the country closed in November when the city reached a seven-day covid-19 testing positivity average of 3%.

Meanwhile, middle and high schools will remain closed. There are more than one million students in New York City’s public school system, and around 330,000 students could be eligible to return to school under this plan.

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Health News

Moderna Files For U.S. Vaccine Authorization, Will Seek EU Nod

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Drug maker, Moderna has filed for U.S. and European emergency regulatory approval of its coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

It is now left for regulators to look at trial data for the MRNA vaccine and decide if it is safe and effective enough to recommend for roll out.

Clinical studies have revealed the vaccine is more than 94% effective at protecting against COVID-19 infection.

Another drug maker, Pfizer, has already filed for the U.S. Emergency approval for its own vaccine.

UK regulators are reviewing data for emergency approval of the Pfizer, Astrazenca, and Oxford University coronavirus vaccines.

Moderna says it hopes to gain UK approval soon, now that it has trial data from 30,000 volunteers including the elderly.

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