European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been warned Italy will unleash a brutal backlash to the response its EU partners have had to the coronavirus crisis crippling the country. France and Germany have banned all exports of facemasks, including to Italy which relies solely on imports. Speaking to France24, founder of Acapital Andre Loesekrug-Pietri warned Italians will be quick to remind their European partners of the lack of solidarity they are being shown right now, as soon as the deadly virus crisis is finally over.
He said: “Good luck to Ursula von der Leyen who wanted to make a geopolitical commission because this is the crux of the matter.
“We have nation-states. I can fully understand that nation-states are protecting their borders.
“Regions are doing that, cities are doing that, companies are doing that. So why not at the national borders?
“But the lack of solidarity! When I hear for example that France and Germany have curtailed all exports of masks especially towards Italy which is one of the few large countries in the world which does not produce masks, I think this absence of solidarity…
“We will be reminded by the Italians not long from there that we lacked solidarity.
“So, it’s time for leadership and I don’t see that leadership coming from Berlin.
“A little bit from Paris as I heard that Macron wants to have a call with the leaders.
“But it’s not time for calls anymore, it’s time for reactions.”
Police are forcing people to keep apart in Italian cafes as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 has surpassed 10,000 in Italy, more than anywhere else in the world bar China where the outbreak began.
China only reported 24 new cases on Wednesday, compared to thousands per day last month, and the country is now seeing cases being brought in from overseas with six recorded cases in Beijing coming from outside the country: five from Italy and one from the United States.
In Italy, many of Italy’s 62 million people have been encouraged to stay home and police across the country have patrolled cafes to ensure owners kept customers one metre apart during daylight hours and then enforced a strict 6pm closure order.
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“It’s bad. People are terrorised,” said Massimo Leonardo, who runs a market stall. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Italy has found itself increasingly sealed off as other countries sought to keep infections contained.
Malta and Spain announced a ban on air traffic from Italy, while British Airways and Air Canada suspended all Italy flights.
Britain, Ireland, Hong Kong and Germany strengthened travel advisories and urged their citizens to leave and even the Vatican erected a new barricade at the edge of St Peter’s Square.
“Get out of northern Italy if you’re there,” said Erik Broegger Rasmussen, head of consular services for Denmark’s foreign ministry.
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