Video Coronavirus: The Italians struggling to feed their families

People in Italy have been living under strict lockdown conditions for a month now and, with many unable to earn any money in this time, some have run out of savings. While its government has agreed to pay part of people’s wages, payments are yet to arrive. The BBC’s Europe correspondent Jean Mackenzie has been to meet some of the Italians who can no longer afford to buy food. Produced by Sara Monetta, filmed and edited by Andy Smythe. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-52205159/coronavirus-the-italians-struggling-to-feed-their-families
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Italy closes ports to refugee ships because of coronavirus

A national emergency blocking ports for refugees and migrants will expire on July 31, but deadline might be extended. Italian ports cannot be considered safe because of the coronavirus epidemic and will not let charity refugee boats dock, the government has ruled. The decision was taken late on Tuesday after a ship operated by the German non-governmental group Sea-Eye picked up some 150 people off Libya and headed towards Italy. "For the entire duration of the national health emergency caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Italian ports cannot guarantee the requisites needed to be classified and defined as a place of safety," the decree said. The national emergency is set to expire on July 31, but the deadline might be extended. Tuesday's order was signed by the interior and transport ministers, as well as Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who comes from a left-wing party that has always supported campaigns for migrant protection and charity operations. After a relative lull in arrivals of boat migrants from Africa, numbers had started to pick up again in the first two months of the year only to fall back sharply in March as Italy was hit by the coronavirus epidemic. A total of 17,127 people have died from the virus in Italy, the highest number anywhere in the world, while 135,586 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak came to light on February 21. Charity ships which regularly patrol the coast of Libya looking to rescue refugees from flimsy boats initially withdrew from the Mediterranean at the onset of the health crisis, but the Sea-Eye ship Alan Kurdi returned to the area last week. "Even when life in Europe has almost come to a halt, human rights must be protected," the group wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, announcing it had rescued 150 people. "Now our guests need a port of safety." In a separate statement, the charity called on Germany to take in the refugees and migrants. "After all, Germany is our flag state," it said, adding that Berlin had just managed to bring home 200,000 citizens stranded abroad because of the coronavirus. "Surely it must be conceivable and humanly possible to send a plane for 150 people seeking protection to southern Europe in order to evacuate the people immediately," it said. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 18,337 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year, while 241 have died during the journey. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/italy-closes-ports-refugee-ships-coronavirus-200408091754757.html
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Albania and Montenegro, huge tourism losses due to coronavirus - warns S&P

Significant losses in the tourism sector in Albania and Montenegro are expected due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to S&P Global Rating's Stress Scenario. The two Western Balkan countries are ranked among 15 countries that will see huge consequences for their tourism sectors from the pandemic, a list that also includes Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cape Verde, and Fiji. “The impact is expectedly large for small tourist-driven economies such as Barbados, Aruba, Belize, Cape Verde, Montenegro, and Albania,” the analysis released in March showed. According to S&S’s “Sovereigns Ranked by Deterioration in GDP growth” table, Montenegro has been placed sixth in the world, Croatia 10th and Albania 13th. The analysis was based on three scenarios - 'limited', 'extensive' and 'extreme'. In the 'limited' scenario, only three sovereigns would experience a worsening of their fiscal deficit by 1% of GDP or higher, which are Aruba, Montenegro and Cape Verde.  The 'extreme' scenario has a total of 17 sovereigns where fiscal metrics deteriorate by at least 1% of GDP. This grouping of economies also include some countries where the external impact is relatively more limited, such as Croatia, Curacao, Jamaica, Georgia, Malta, Jordan, and Iceland.  “Albania and Georgia additionally appear somewhat vulnerable, but, given both countries' relatively healthier starting position on their external balance sheets, they appear somewhat more capable of handling the shock,” the analysis showed. The analysis suggests that small "Sun, Sea, and Sand" island destinations such as Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cape Verde, and Fiji would be the worst affected from a slowdown in global tourism flows.  The second most vulnerable region in the world in terms of tourism losses is Central and Eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans, which contains several countries with meaningful tourism sectors. Montenegro appears most vulnerable within this grouping, mostly because it relies on tourism for two-fifths of total current account receipts — by far the largest in all of Europe. External indebtedness is set to deteriorate most dramatically in the Bahamas, Montenegro and Greece, each of which would experience a worsening of around 30% of current account receipts in the "extreme" scenario. The analysis shows that Albania and Georgia appear somewhat vulnerable, but, given both countries' relatively healthier starting position on their external balance sheets, they appear somewhat more capable of handling the shock.  
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