Figures released by French public health authority Santé Publique France on Friday showed a 54 percent increase in recorded cases of Covid-19 virus infection in mainland France, notably high among younger age groups, and a significant jump in reported clusters nationwide, while infected patients in intensive care in hospital rose by one over the past 24 hours marking the first increase in three months.
Across Europe, governments have brought in massive budget cuts totalling up to 400 billion euros to stem rising deficits. Ministers say the cuts are necessary to bring about economic stability and reassure the markets. Critics say they are unjust, hitting the poorest the hardest, and unsound, marking a return to failed economic dogmas of the past. So are these so-called austerity plans really unavoidable? What do all these billions in announced savings really represent - and could these drastic plans in fact kill off any return to economic growth?