What should the government do about population control?

Economies are shaking, entire societies are being quarantined. Day after day, politicians announce new bad news and restrictions for people in the fight against the corona virus. And yet, they are everywhere in the world, the winners: heads of government who had just been scolded are suddenly seen as courageous crisis managers, while others are taking advantage of the epidemic to push things through that in normal times would be scrutinized more critically by the public. An overview:

Italy's Prime Minister Conte is gaining stature

In Italy Everything is different at the moment anyway, also in politics. The bets on a government overthrow, which until recently were thought to be almost inevitable, have been postponed. The popularity of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the head of an often divided coalition of Social Democrats and Cinque Stelle, is growing massively. Since many countries are now following the example of the Italians and restricting public life with drastic measures, his role is also gaining stature internationally - as a pioneer: "The black duckling is no longer afraid," ennobles La Repubblica the head of government. Conte literally floated that he was one with the people.

Of course, that can change quickly if the tough course doesn't bring tangible results soon and the economy collapses. But in the meantime, the favor of the right-wing populist Matteo Salvini, who had tried to disrupt national unity with polemical objections, is falling. The referendum on reducing the size of parliament has already been postponed, and since it is a matter of a constitutional amendment with deadline provisions, new elections are a long way off, also for reasons of form. Oliver Meiler

Spain puts private hospitals under state trustees

In Spain the state is now intervening heavily in the private sector. The public health sector being saved is groaning, which could explain the high death toll. The country reported almost 12,000 infected and almost 500 dead on Tuesday afternoon, the numbers are increasing rapidly. Madrid has therefore imposed a measure that has long been considered out of the question in government policy: The private hospitals are placed under state trustees. The health authorities of the regions can have the resources of private clinics at their disposal, and clinic operators are obliged to notify the state of what equipment they have.

This measure is part of the catalog decided by the left-left government under the socialist Pedro Sánchez. It comes close to what Sánchez's coalition partner, the left-wing alternative party Podemos, had previously called for: a kind of re-nationalization of the health system, which had been privatized more and more as a result of the euro crisis. More than a third of Spanish hospital beds are in private clinics. On Tuesday, the first 30 corona patients from the public sector were transferred to such. Sebastian Schoepp

The weight is shifting in Poland's election campaign

In Poland days ago the election campaign of Poland's President Andrzej Duda for the presidential election in May stalled. Then came the coronavirus. All candidates stopped campaigning. Except for Duda: As in a state of war, the president travels to border guards or doctors in an army sweater and poses as the top fighter against the virus - can be seen in detail on state television. Opposition candidates are calling for the election to be postponed because of Duda's favor.

A former head of the state election commission sees the unequal campaign as nothing less than a violation of Article 96 ("equality of elections") of the constitution. The state of threat that has been declared is also a "slight state of emergency" that does not allow for "democratic elections". Duda himself and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have so far refused to postpone the election. If this remains the case, the law professor Łukasz Chojniak recommends that all opposition candidates withdraw: If there is only one candidate on the ballot paper, the election commission and parliamentary president actually have to call new elections. Florian Hassel

Entry into government with face mask in Slovakia

There is currently no shortage of pictures of people protecting their faces Slovakia sworn in for the first time a complete new government in protective masks and gloves. Three weeks after the election on February 29, there is a coalition formed from four parties. Parliament will hold its constituent session on Friday. Precisely because of the spread of the Covid-19 disease, they want to get all this over with as quickly as possible - before everyone gets sick, said President Zuzana Čaputová.

However, the new government is not immune to suspicion of corruption even before it takes office, although the new Prime Minister Igor Matovič focused on one topic in the election campaign: the fight against corruption. However, the future Minister of the Interior is under criminal investigation. He is said to have had contacts with the man who is currently being tried in the case of the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak. The deputy prime minister is suspected of white-collar crime. And the party of right-wing populist Boris Kollár is said to be involved in the government. The entrepreneur Kollár is said to have had contact with the underworld in the past. But in times of Corona, a government capable of acting has to be in place as soon as possible - regardless of the past of its members. Viktoria Grossmann

News about the coronavirus - twice a day by email

All reports on the current coronavirus situation in Germany and worldwide as well as the most important news of the day - twice a day SZ espresso. Our newsletter will keep you up to date in the morning and in the evening. Free registration: sz.de/espresso

US primaries under the sign of the virus crisis

The United States are hit by the corona crisis during the primaries, in which the major parties determine their presidential candidates. Some states have postponed their "primaries", while others are considering switching entirely to postal voting. If President Donald Trump's prognosis that the crisis will last until the summer is correct, it is also not foreseeable how the nomination congresses will take place. The Democrats want to gather in Milwaukee in July to elect their candidate, the Republicans in Charlotte at the end of August.

However, it is hard to imagine that under the given circumstances, thousands of party conference visitors would spend a week together in a multi-purpose hall. Postponing the presidential election, which has to take place in early November, would be difficult. In the meantime, the crisis is hindering everyday work in Washington: Several MPs and senators are in quarantine. In addition, the Constitutional Court has canceled all oral hearings for the time being. Some judges are of old age and would be particularly at risk should they become infected. Hubert Wetzel

Distance and closeness in Israel

Ghostly scenes played out on Monday Israel from: Only three MPs were sworn in in parliament in order to comply with the distance regulations in times of Corona. It took 40 rounds for all 120 MPs to have their turn. Even if distance was required in the Knesset, President Reuven Rivlin hopes that the two major parties will come closer together.

He calls for a grand coalition of the Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu and the blue-white alliance led by Benny Gantz. Since Likud won the election on March 2, but Gantz received more recommendations from MPs as head of government, Rivlin now tasked the opposition leader with forming a government. Netanyahu, on the other hand, is calling for an emergency government he wants to lead for six months. The corruption process against him has been postponed. Alexandra Föderl-Schmid

Coronavirus superimposes constitutional amendment in Russia

In Russia The Corona crisis comes at a time when President Vladimir Putin is implementing the largest political reform in more than twenty years. He changes the constitution and could thus remain president for two more terms. Parliament has already given its approval, Putin has signed the law, and the Supreme Constitutional Court nodded the reform. A message that almost got lost in the virus reports. Silke Bigalke

Direct talks in Ukraine

in the Eastern Ukraine conflict Despite its involvement, Russia has always pretended that this was a purely internal Ukrainian matter. Moscow is therefore demanding that Kiev negotiate directly with the leaders of the so-called People's Republics. The Kremlin now appears to be making headway.

At a meeting of the contact group in Minsk, the conflicting parties agreed to form an advisory body to include representatives of the Ukrainian government and the separatist areas. So these would be the direct talks that Kiev had so far refused. The Eastern European spokesman for the Greens, Manuel Sarrazin, warned that "the corona pandemic must not lead to Russia being able to unilaterally implement its strategic goals in Ukraine". Frank Nienhuysen

Meetings in Niger are allowed - except against the government

The government of Niger meanwhile uses the fear of the coronavirus in a very special way. The state is one of the few in sub-Saharan Africa that has not yet reported a single case. Meetings are actually allowed. Unless they're against the government. On Sunday, representatives of civil society called for people to protest against corruption in the army - which the government banned with reference to Corona. Thousands came anyway. The police used tear gas and fires broke out. Three people died. Bernd Dörries