Covid-19 Daily Report / 01/01/2017 / Auxipress

Covid-19 Daily Report 25/03 - Media update on the crisis

In this daily 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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Will Belgium take in Dutch patients?

Several sources report on European solidarity regarding corona. Standaard.be interviews MEP Petra De Sutter (Greens/ALE), who thinks much time was lost, and there is a need for European crisis management. She believes it is Belgium's moral duty to take in Dutch patients, even if the Netherlands took measures far too slowly. While Europe is certainly doing what it can, the credit for EU funding often goes to the member state in question. The European Commission realised the gravity of the situation sooner than the member states did. This crisis also proves the importance of European strategic reserves for future crises. Nieuwsblad.be notes that despite ample capacity, Belgium is currently not responding to the call for European solidarity, and will not, for now, admit any Dutch patients afflicted with the coronavirus. President Michel called for European solidarity in a letter to Italian President Mattarella: "We must help and support each other." 

Sophie Wilmès replies to booers: "I assure you that we are working tirelessly to safeguard everyone's health"

Lesoir.be publishes an article written by Prime Minister Wilmès. The Prime Minister replies to two surgeons who lamented the scarcity of masks, reagents and medicines in the corona crisis. Ms Wilmès highlights the courage displayed by health professionals as well as workers in other essential sectors. She underlines the exceptional character of the current situation, noting that the supply of required material is crucial, and still a daunting task. Ms Wilmès mentions that Belgium was able to purchase 11.5 million surgical masks and 459,000 FFP2 masks in the last ten days. She adds that Belgium is working hard to implement massive testing.

The transport sector requests green lanes for lorries and shorter controls

Two sources shed light on the transport sector's difficulties in this coronavirus period. L'Echo writes that the transportation sector wants to cross the borders more easily. The Febetra federation regrets that currently, lorries lose a lot of time because of the controls aiming at fighting against the coronavirus spread. Their request rests on a recommendation made by the European Commission calling on member states to create green lanes for lorries transporting goods and make sure controls last 15 minutes at most. De Tijd quotes spokesperson of the Febetra federation Isabelle De Maegt about the situation: "It is ironic that it happens at a moment when the European Commission asks member states to create "green lanes" for the transport sector," an initiative supposed to help transporters cross the borders faster and with fewer formalities.

Mouth masks from China not applauded everywhere

De Morgen writes that while Italy and Serbia welcome the help in fighting the coronavirus, the EU is suspicious of China's mouth mask diplomacy. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell stated: "China is aggressively pushing the message that contrary to the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner. But we must be aware of a geopolitical component, including a fight for influence." China is trying to eclipse its initial failure in the corona crisis with power and aid. HR/VP Borrell warns member states not to let Beijing charm them and encourages the EU not to leave the initiative exclusively to President Xi for too long

Image quality reduced for 30 days

More than one source reports on measures to prevent a meltdown of digital networks. Grenz Echo reports that YouTube will reduce image quality worldwide in order to relieve network capacity during corona. The video standard will default to HD, but users can manually alter that. The measure was announced for 30 days in Europe last week, as the European Commission had asked from streaming services. The Commission was concerned that increased teleworking and home entertainment would clog networks. Lalibre.be notes that streaming service Disney+ launched in seven European countries on Tuesday, with strongly reduced volumes, as requested by Commissioner Breton.

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