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President von der Leyen to participate in the G20 Virtual Leaders' Summit

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This weekend, on 21-22 November, President Ursula von der Leyen will take part in the G20 Leaders' Summit along with the European Council President Charles Michel. Together as the ‘European Union' delegation, they will jointly represent the EU as a full member of the G20. Due to the current sanitary situation, the summit will take place entirely by videoconference.

This year's summit, themed ‘Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All', meets under the presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The first session will start on Saturday afternoon and will focus on ‘Overcoming the Pandemic and Restoring Growth and Jobs'. The second session takes place on Sunday afternoon (22 November) under the title ‘Building an Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient Future'.

On Friday (20 November) at midday, Presidents von der Leyen and Michel will hold a joint press conference to present the EU's priorities ahead of the beginning of the summit. The press conference will be broadcast on EbS. The Saudi presidency has prepared a microsite dedicated to media interested in following the Leaders' Summit. The information for accreditation is available here.

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European Health Union: Commission establishes portfolio of ten most promising treatments for COVID-19

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The Commission has made a decisive contribution to the COVID-19 treatment strategy by establishing a portfolio of ten potential COVID-19 treatments. Based on independent scientific opinions, this list concerns candidate treatments against COVID-19 in the process of being authorized and which should therefore soon be available on the European market. Once the safety and efficacy of these treatments have been confirmed by the European Medicines Agency, patients will have access to them as quickly as possible across the Union. Promoting Our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas said: “As we continue to meet the challenge of COVID-19, it is important to have, in addition to vaccination, other ways to protect yourself. With this list of ten treatments for COVID-19, citizens will benefit from the most promising treatments against the virus."

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides (pictured) said: "Vaccination is the only way to avoid hospitalizations and deaths linked to COVID and therefore the only way out of this pandemic. In the meantime, however, patients need safe and effective treatments that can fight infection, improve the chances of a speedy recovery, reduce hospital admissions, and most importantly, prevent loss of life. human. We have already signed four joint procurement contracts for different treatments related to COVID-19 and we are ready to negotiate more. Our aim is to allow at least three treatments in the coming weeks, and possibly two more by the end of the year, and to help member states access them as soon as possible. "

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Honouring the 'forgotten angels' of the health crisis

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A leading ferry operator is honouring the “forgotten angels” who have been at the sharp end of the ongoing health crisis.

Nurses worldwide have been acclaimed for their sterling efforts to help the needy during the near-two year pandemic that has cost tens of thousands of lives and devastated economies.

DFDS has now decided to honour the contribution made by the nursing profession in the UK which, currently, again has one of the fastest growing rates of coronavirus infections in Europe.

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The ferry operator is giving away £1 million worth of crossings on its UK-continental Europe routes to health service personnel in the UK.

A spokesman for the company told this website that the offer of £1 million worth of free ferry crossings to NHS staff is its way “to say thanks for all your hard work throughout the pandemic.”

 “The past 18 months have been some of the hardest the nation has faced and the NHS have taken on these challenges with strength and dedication. To say thank you, we are we are giving away £1 million worth of crossings in association with Blue Light Card.”

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“If you work for the NHS or know someone who does, share this with them so that they can enter and start planning their longed-for getaway. Throughout this time health service staff have put themselves on the front line for us, to make things better and easier for us. Now it’s our turn to do something for them.”

The offer is for the Dover/Dunkirk-Calais and also on the Newhaven to Dieppe routes. DFDS is the only cross-channel ferry operator to offer this route and its multiple daily crossings take just 4 hours. Ferries from Newhaven to Dieppe provide the perfect route from the UK to the heart of northern France and bookings are now open for 2022.

It is also available for the overnight Newcastle to Amsterdam mini cruise where passengers stay in a private, en suite cabin, enjoying our onboard restaurants, entertainment and duty free shopping.

Travel is for selected dates in 2021 and 2022. Anyone interested can enter the ballot via Blue Light Tickets.

As travel is still very much subject to the whims of the pandemic the company is aware that people may have to change their travel plans. If so, the DFDS travel guarantee offers free cancellation and rebooking on travel taken before 30 September 2022. DFDS has again this year been nominated as the "World's Leading Ferry Operator" after winning the last ten years in a row.

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Macabre upshots of COVID-19 rampage in Romania

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In the past several days, the demand for coffins increased by 50% in Romania. Some working in this sector said that in October alone their sales increased as never before, writes Cristian Gherasim, Bucharest correspondent.

This comes as no surprise since COVID 19 has been killing one Romanian every five minutes, the country registering the highest death rate in the world.

Representatives of funeral homes and of those selling coffins said that they have encountered numerous tragedies in the past weeks. They met cases of entire families ending up burying four of their members in the past two weeks alone.

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The COVID mortality rate is so high that many have compared it to the most tragic events in Romania’s recent history. The most tragic event was the Collective Club fire of 2015. The fire resulted in 64 deaths, almost nine times less than the COVID deaths recorded on Tuesday, 19 October. At the anti-communist revolution of 1989, 1,166 Romanians died. At the beginning of the week, 561 died in just 24 hours, namely half of the victims registered during the anti-communist revolution which unfolded over a period of 5 days. The 1977 earthquake killed 1,570 people. The 24h death rate from COVID in Romania represent one third of the victims of the worst earthquake in Romania’s recent history.

Town halls across the country are now using excavators to dig burial plots for recently COVID deceased. Authorities in Slobozia, Ialomița county can no longer cope with the large number of dead and have brought an excavator to the cemetery to dig the graves.

Botosani City Hall also rented an excavator to deal with the wave of deaths. The number of deaths in recent days led to increase activity not only in hospitals but also in cemeteries, said local authorities. Gravediggers could no longer cope with the wave of burials, and heavy machinery had to be brought in.

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Centralized data show that in the city of Botosani, every month, there were about 50 deaths, but now the number has more than doubled.

The wave of burials exacerbates the crisis in the cemeteries, so the mayors must find solutions.

Due to the large number of deaths as a result of the new coronavirus, a crisis in cemeteries broke out in Italy this spring as much as it did during the first year of the pandemic. In Rome, in May, there was even a riot of funeral home workers who complained that there were no more places available. Spread over 140 hectares in northern Rome, Prima Porta, the largest cemetery in Italy, had a waiting list stretching all the way back to the beginning of the year.

People in Italy who had someone dying in January said that in May they were still not buried or cremated, and mortuaries at other cemeteries in the city were in similar situations.

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