- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Talks within the European Union on how to assist southern countries that have been hit badly by the coronavirus outbreak stalled Wednesday after 16 hours.

EU finance ministers had neared an agreement, the BBC reported, but talks crumbled after Italy and the Netherlands disagreed over how to roll out the funding.

The southern European nations could need up to €1.5 trillion ($1.6 trillion) to combat the financial fallout from the crisis, the European Central Bank said.

Several European countries have reported some of the highest infection rates and death tolls from coronavirus, as Italy and Spain have each topped 130,000 confirmed cases and 14,500 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Overnight, France hit the sobering mark of exceeding 10,000 deaths from the virus — the country’s highest single-day spike. The country has reported 110,070 cases and 19,523 recoveries of its 65.2 million people.

Germany, meanwhile, has been credited with taking strict measures and implementing testing early on and has reported 107,663 confirmed cases — the fifth-highest in the world — including 2,016 deaths and 36,081 recoveries. Germany has a population of 83.7 million.

Negotiations for the European rescue package are expected to resume Thursday.

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