Brussels (AFP)

European Union leaders meet at a summit in Brussels on Friday to discuss economic recovery in the Old Continent hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to progress with a new record of contamination in the United States and now one million people infected in India, and two in Brazil.

The recovery plan is not unanimous and negotiations between the 27 promise to be long and difficult. This extraordinary two- or even three-day summit may not be the last.

It is the first time that the 27 EU heads of state and government have all met in Brussels since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe and the containment measures that followed, forcing them to speak remotely by videoconference.

- The epidemic is progressing -

At the same time, the new coronavirus continues to spread, the United States, the most mourning country in the world, recording a new contamination record on Thursday with more than 68,000 cases in 24 hours, announced Thursday. The state of Florida, the center of the epidemic in the country, also reported on Thursday its highest number of deaths in 24 hours: 156.

The United States has been facing since the end of June a very strong resurgence of the virus, especially in the South and the West. For a week, the number of contaminations detected every 24 hours has exceeded 60,000, about twice as much as in April, at the height of confinement.

Large American cities have decided that the start of the school year will be largely, if not completely online, but in some states - like in Florida - the debate turns into a political showdown.

More than 13.6 million people have contracted the disease and at least 585,750 deaths have been recorded worldwide, according to a report stopped Thursday at 19:00 GMT. Italy crossed the symbolic barrier of 35,000 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday.

Latin America and the Caribbean are still affected, including Brazil, which has 76,688 dead and crossed the mark of two million contaminations on Thursday, the second highest death toll in the world behind the United States.

"Two million is a symbolic figure, because we don't have mass tests," Jean Gorinchteyn, an infectious disease specialist at the Emilio Ribas Institute and the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, told AFP. "But the actual figure is probably four or five times higher," he said.

Colombia, for its part, crossed the threshold of 6,000 dead on Thursday and had its daily contamination record with 8,037 new infections.

As for Asia, a regional official of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has sounded the alarm, saying that "the Covid-19 is spreading at an alarming rate in South Asia, home to a quarter of humanity. "

In fact, India passed the milestone of one million reported cases on Friday, local authorities increasing health restrictions and reconfinements to contain the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Third nation in the world in number of contaminations listed, after the United States and Brazil, the Asian giant on Friday counted 25,602 dead for 1,003,832 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

- Russia pointed out -

Britain, the United States and Canada accused Russia of wanting to steal research on a Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. They claimed that the Russian intelligence services were behind computer attacks aimed at capturing research, an accusation strongly denied by the Kremlin.

According to the British government agency responsible for cybersecurity, a group of Russian hackers have attacked British, Canadian and American organizations.

- "Unconscious behavior" -

Faced with the multiplication of contamination, several European countries continue to tighten health measures.

Thus, Germany authorized the adoption of hardened containment measures at the local level, with "prohibitions of exit" in limited geographical areas in the event of peak of contamination.

Berlin especially fears the return of vacationers, especially those returning from the beaches around the Mediterranean. The images of the beer bars of the Spanish island of Majorca, filled with Germans without protective masks, have aroused the resentment of several ministers, the head of diplomacy criticizing the "unconscious behavior" of some.

In France, where foci of contamination have reappeared in recent days, wearing a mask will be compulsory "from next week" in all closed establishments open to the public, "in particular shops," Prime Minister Jean said on Thursday. Castex.

The European Union removed for its part Thursday Montenegro and Serbia from the list of countries whose travelers are welcome on its territory, reviewed every fortnight.

In Spain, authorities are monitoring more than 120 active households, particularly in Catalonia (northeast), around the city of Lleida, where around 160,000 residents were reconfigured on Wednesday.

burx-cn / ybl

© 2020 AFP