Covid-19 wrap | Serbia to review death rate, India court orders airlines to refund lockdown bookings

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  • Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration won't accept Democrats' proposal for a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package.
  • Serbia will review records since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to check the death rate and rectify any irregularities.
  • India's top court ordered airlines to refund passengers who were forced to cancel tickets booked during a two-month, nationwide lockdown.

More than 33.95 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1 011 257 have died, according to a Reuters tally. 

UK seeking to move early on Covid-19, not spook people, minister says           

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is not trying to scare people with Covid-19 restrictions but simply to move early in an attempt to limit the potential economic damage of a much more serious outbreak, a minister said on Thursday.

"We're not really trying to scare people," Environment Secretary George Eustice told Talk Radio. "What we're attempting to do through this is to act early, and in a targeted way in response to local outbreaks."

"We're trying to strike this ... difficult balance of acting early in a targeted way rather than waiting for the disease to get fully out of control," he added.


'You cannot lock down everybody' Madrid tells Spanish government in Covid spat         

You cannot lock down everybody," the chief of the Madrid region said on Thursday, pushing back against the Spanish government's plan to confine the capital city to tackle a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The health ministry said late on Wednesday that the central government was overriding regional authorities and would impose a lockdown of the city of over 3 million people and some surrounding towns in the coming days.

But Madrid region chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso rejected the move, saying the committee that took the decision had no legal authority to do so without a consensus.

"You cannot lock down everybody," Diaz Ayuso said on esRadio. "I'm sure the Madrid (region) plan is the best: quick tests, quarantines and life goes on."


White House will not accept $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package -Mnuchin             

Treasury Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday the Trump administration would not accept Democrats' proposal for a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package, and indicated he wanted a deal closer to $1.5 trillion.

"We're not going to do a $2.2 trillion dollar deal," Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

Asked if a compromise of $1.5 trillion would be acceptable, Mnuchin said: "It's in that neighborhood."


India's top court orders airlines to refund bookings during coronavirus lockdown          

India's top court ordered airlines to refund passengers who were forced to cancel tickets booked during a two-month, nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Supreme Court told airlines to refund the money within three weeks in a decision that will add to the burden on cash-strapped Indian carriers whose revenues have been hit by coronavirus restrictions on air travel.

The ruling comes in response to petitions filed by various individuals and organisations including Air Passengers Association of India and Travel Agents Federation of India that alleged violation of refund rules by airlines.


Serbia to review Covid-19 death rate after expert's criticism        

Serbia will review records since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to check the death rate and rectify any irregularities after its leading epidemiologist questioned the figures.

"We will do the audit in the most honest way. I believe in the expertise of our people. We never hid anything, and everything we did, we did transparently," President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters on Thursday.

Predrag Kon, a member of the government-appointed crisis staff tasked with combating the disease, said on Tuesday the official death toll for the capital Belgrade was three times lower than the real figure.

In an interview with Belgrade-based NewsMax Adria TV, Kon linked the discrepancy, which he said was particularly big in June, with what he described as an inaccurate information system.


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