Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Your Wednesday Briefing

Israeli-Gulf deal, India, Aleksei Navalny: Here’s what you need to know.

By Carole Landry

Good morning.

We’re covering the signing at the White House of a deal between Israel and two Gulf States, preparations in Australia for the next fire season and Aleksei Navalny in recovery.

How Europe coexists with the coronavirus

Having abandoned hopes of eradicating the virus or developing a vaccine quickly, Europeans have largely gone back to work and school, leading lives as normally as possible even as the possibility of a second wave haunts the Continent.

Europeans are putting to use the lessons from the pandemic’s initial phase: the need to wear masks and practice social distancing, the importance of testing and tracing, the critical advantages of reacting nimbly and locally. All of those measures are intended to prevent the kind of national lockdowns that crippled economies this year.

“We are in a living-with-the-virus phase,” said Roberto Speranza, the health minister of Italy, the first country in Europe to impose a national lockdown.

The European path differs from that of many Asian countries, including China and South Korea, where even one case can set off an aggressive campaign of testing, tracing and isolation. In those countries, infection rates have been persistently low, although cases have been ticking up recently in South Korea.

Here are our latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

High schools and universities in Pakistan opened Tuesday after being closed for almost six months. Online classes were offered in most schools.

Australia’s state of Victoria, the center of the country’s outbreak, on Tuesday reported no new virus deaths for the first time in more than two months. The city of Melbourne remains in lockdown.

A senior Chinese health official — Dr. Wu Guizhen, an expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention — said a vaccine could be available to the public in China as early as November.

A diplomatic win, and political gift, for Trump

President Trump hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the White House on Tuesday along with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for the signing of new diplomatic accords between the countries.

While many analysts give Mr. Trump some credit for helping to broker the agreements, they called the talk of peace overblown. Israel, they said, has long been moving into a de facto alliance with the Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf, in common cause against Shiite Iran.

Details: The agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, will normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and the U.A.E. and Bahrain, including the establishment of embassies.

Campaign gift: The leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have a stake in Mr. Trump’s re-election in November. “One has to assume this is being driven by Donald Trump’s political agenda, and interest in putting points on the board in advance of the election,” said Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

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