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Bakers in Italy wear masks at work.
Bakers in Italy wear masks at work.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Coronavirus: Deaths grow in Europe as Germany says vaccine is not for sale to Trump

The number of deaths in Spain and Italy jumped yesterday.
Mar 16th 2020, 7:36 AM 149,896 134

EUROPE REMAINS IN the epicentre of the global Covid-19 outbreak, with the majority of the fatalities from the coronavirus now outside of China.

On Sunday, Italy announced 368 deaths over the previous 24 hours, the worst single-day toll for any country of the crisis and far exceeding the worst day in China recorded in February.

Spain and France registered 183 and 29 new deaths respectively yesterday, also their worst one-day tolls.

Globally, there have been more than 6,500 confirmed deaths from the virus.

Drastic measures have been introduced across the continent. Yesterday, France ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, cinemas and nightclubs but said food shops, pharmacies, banks and tobacconists would remain open.

Polls have also opened in the country for local elections, despite the risk that the coronavirus outbreak will keep many voters at home.

 Germany

Today, Germany’s foreign minister said that the rights to coronavirus vaccine research were not for sale, following reports Donald Trump wanted the US to buy exclusive access to a potential vaccine developed by a German biotech firm.

The comments, made in an interview to media group Funke, come as scientists raced to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus that has killed some 6,000 people, seen millions placed under lockdown and devastated global markets.

“German researchers play a leading role in drug and vaccine development and we cannot allow others to seek exclusive results,” Heiko Maas told Funke.

Citing sources close to the German government, Die Welt newspaper had previously reported that Trump had offered “a billion dollars” to secure research into a vaccine by German biotech firm CureVac “only for the United States”.

“Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday, reacting to the report.

At a news conference, interior minister Horst Seehofer was asked to confirm the attempts to court the German company.

“I can only say that I have heard several times today from government officials today that this is the case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow,” he said.

CureVac, which is working on a vaccine, said in a statement yesterday that it “abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology”.

CureVac investors said that they would not sell the vaccine to a single state. 

With reporting from Press Association and Dominic McGrath

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