Covid-19 Daily Report / 25/04/2020 / Auxipress

Covid-19 Weekly Report 28/04 - Media update on the crisis

In this weekly report, Auxipress gathers the key facts and figures of the Coronavirus crisis in the Belgian news.The following report is based on the analysis of the media agendas to evaluate the media visibility of the coronavirus. This methodology is based on the monitoring of almost 90 sources of printed and online press.

Number of articles over time

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Evolution of the main media issues related to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis

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Media agenda

Media agenda: overview of the themes present in the total daily media context. i.e. the themes are not specifically linked to the coronavirus.

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Interview with Prime Minister Wilmès: "We have never set aside any part of the population"

Le Soir interviews Prime Minister Wilmès about the Belgian approach to the epidemic. Concerning the decision to allow visits to nursing homes, she admits that Belgium could have managed the situation differently. She highlights the need for solidarity and notes that the exit strategy will be gradual. Next Friday, the government will announce the next steps in the crisis. She understands the need for perspectives but notes how difficult such strategies are. One has to be aware that everything depends on the situation on the terrain. She further notes the importance of tracking. She highlights the importance of protecting the privacy and is aware that exceptions have to remain as such.

The WHO faces criticism about the way it manages the crisis

Several Belgian newspapers focus on the WHO and its role in the crisis. De Morgen interviews WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge, who explains that everyone underestimated COVID-19 and the crisis that followed. He notes that the Belgian management of the situation in nursing homes is not worse than in other countries. He notes that all health systems have been caught up in speed because of the global shortage of tests and protective equipment. L'Echo notes that in the midst of a pandemic, the WHO is suffering from a major drawback as the US decided to stop funding it. The WHO's first steps in managing the COVID-19 crisis have been criticised, but there is no evidence that it made any mistakes. It would even have done better than in previous crises.

Has the time come for deglobalisation?

In L'Echo, economist Xavier Dupret ponders a deglobalised world order after the corona crisis is over. For example, if we wish to stand up to the Internet giants from Silicon Valley, we should develop our own digital champions. The rapid spread of the coronavirus is not due to excessively spread value chains, but rather to too much centralisation. Western economies have placed too many eggs in the Chinese basket, and nothing prevents us from reinforcing our presence in other south-east Asian countries. Vietnam recently concluded a free trade agreement with the EU. In other words, the world will remain a complex place.

The growth of the extreme right in times of pandemic

RTBF's Au bout du jour interviews CRISP expert Benjamin Biard about the growth of the extreme right across Europe. During this pandemic, the extreme right uses its discourse on immigration, asylum seekers and the pandemic itself, all factors that make people scared. Several extreme right voices are heard, among others that of Prime Minister Orbán, who stated that Hungarians have protected Europe for 1,000 years. "They are for the EU but have had enough of Brussels. They want change." He added that the millions of illegal immigrants that arrived threaten Europeans' security and Christian identity: "The British are leaving and the migrants are there, that is the record of Jean-Claude Juncker."

There is no Europe in health matters

La Première discusses the lack of European health policy with Claire Dhéret, Head of Programme at the European Policy Centre's Social Europe and Well-Being Programme. Just like defence, health has remained a domain in which member states are reluctant to give up any sovereignty. While public health remains a national issue, the EU can intervene, but with very limited resources. The European Commission has done what it can in the corona crisis, but there is a clear need for a more institutionalised coordination system. The Commission can encourage member states to take in patients from other EU countries, but the member states object to this. 

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