Trump opposes mask requirement in Michigan
US President Donald Trump temporarily did not wear a protective mask when visiting a factory in the US state of Michigan – despite an express request from Michigan’s Secretary of Justice Dana Nessel. TV pictures showed Trump visiting the Ford factory in Ypsilanti, where the automaker makes ventilators in the corona crisis. In an open letter, Trump had advised Nessel that wearing a protective mask is currently compulsory in Michigan.
Trump told journalists he was wearing a mask on an earlier part of the factory tour, “but I didn’t want the press to be happy to see that.” Trump then showed a mask that he said he had worn. He emphasized that he and everyone around him had been tested for the virus, which is why he did not have to put on a mask.
Ford said CEO Bill Ford “encouraged” Trump to wear a protective mask when he arrived. During part of the visit, the president wore a mask, but then put it off for the rest of the visit.
India reports the biggest increase in new infections
With around 6000 confirmed new infections, India has recorded the largest daily increase in corona cases since the outbreak of the pandemic. The country, with 1.3 billion citizens, reports an increase in proven cases of around five percent to 118,000. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 3,500 people have died of Covid-19 in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the curfew until the end of May, but has recently eased conditions in regions with fewer infections.
Amherd: Army contingent was a difficult decision
The decision to deploy the army to combat the corona virus was not an easy one, says Defense Minister Viola Amherd in an interview with the Valais daily “Le Nouvelliste”, Link opens in a new window. The Federal Council had to react within a few days – in the middle of a situation that quickly worsened.
“They ask 5000 soldiers to leave their family and work – some of them within 48 hours. I was aware of the social, health and economic consequences of this decision, »says Amherd.
Regarding the size of the contingent, she recalls that the Federal Council had assumed the worst possible scenario – against the background of the “catastrophic pictures from Italy and the dramatic pictures from Ticino”.
On March 6, the Federal Council arranged for the largest mobilization since World War II. Some troops have already ended their deployment, others are expected to continue until the end of June.
More vaccine doses needed for flu
Medical professionals and health officials will be campaigning for the flu shot in autumn even more vigorously than they have in previous years. Because they want to prevent that there are too many double infections – so that people contract the seasonal flu and the coronavirus at the same time.
China plans to spend billions
The Chinese government plans to fight the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic with additional billions in spending and new debt. Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced this at the start of the Beijing People’s Congress. It is planned to issue additional trillion yuan in government bonds to boost the economy.
To finance new infrastructure, the volume of regional bonds issued is also to be increased from 2.15 to 3.75 trillion yuan compared to the previous year. According to the government report, it must also be ensured that small and medium-sized companies have better access to credit and that financing costs are reduced. Further 500 billion yuan tax and tax cuts are planned.
Avoid fragmentation in poor and rich EU countries
EU Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni expects the member states to agree on a joint reconstruction plan in the corona crisis at an EU summit on June 18. He assumed that “in the end, reason and responsibility would prevail,” Gentiloni told the “Handelsblatt”.
The EU Commission wants to give special help in the reconstruction to companies that are in need of existence due to the pandemic, he told the newspaper. Another goal of the reconstruction plan is to “help the regions and economic sectors most affected by the pandemic.” It is also a matter of “sharing the prosperity of all Member States”. Otherwise there is a risk of “great fragmentation into poor and rich EU countries,” warned Gentiloni.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wants to present a proposal for a reconstruction program next Wednesday. In advance, Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron presented a joint concept according to which the EU Commission would take out 500 billion euros as loans on the capital market and distribute them as grants through the EU budget.
We are considering adding a new instrument to our reconstruction plan: solvency assistance for companies that do not receive support in their home country.
SVP-Rösti: “Federal Council has too much power”
According to SVP party president Albert Rösti, the Federal Council and the Federal Office of Public Health currently have too much power due to the corona crisis. The “sole rule of the Federal Council” must be ended immediately, Rösti said in an interview with the daily newspaper “Blick”. After the corona break, parliament was back in everyday political life, but it was a bad trap. There was even more money for particular interests than was requested by the Federal Council.
Rösti also calls for a return to federalism. If there is a second wave, the cantons should have more scope with which measures they want to react. “We can’t stand a second lockdown across Switzerland,” said Rösti.
The most important thing from the night
- In Brazil, the death toll continues to rise. In total there are now over 20,000 people who have died in connection with the coronavirus.
- US President Donald Trump has ruled out a second lockdown in a second corona wave. At the same time, he urged governors again to loosen state protection measures so that the US economy regained momentum.
- Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg predicts a long-term change in the world of work because of the corona crisis. In an interview with the technology blog “The Verge”, he estimates that in ten years half of the Facebook workforce will work from home.
- Read more news from the night and the day before here.