Coronavirus
A hospital in Italy. Image credit - news.sky.com

With the rise in the number of new COVID-19 or coronavirus cases, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe is now the ‘epicenter’ of the virus.

According to reports, Italy recorded 368 coronavirus deaths with a period of 24 hours, the highest number of deaths in the country in a single day.

Italy is the worst coronavirus-affected country in Europe where coronavirus has claimed a total of 1,266 people, according to official data released on Friday.

WHO head Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged all the countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilization, and social distancing to save lives.

Also read: Coronavirus outbreak: Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip to be moved out of Buckingham Palace

He said, “Do not just let this fire burn.”

Italy has recorded a total number of 17,000 cases while Spain has recorded 5,945 cases with 200 deaths.

Spain confirmed more than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus between Friday and Saturday.

Also read: ‘Imported’ coronavirus infections rise in China

With 5,945 confirmed cases, Spain is in second in the list of coronavirus-hit countries in Europe after Italy.

Germany has recorded 4,000 cases with 8 deaths.

On Saturday morning, the number of coronavirus cases in Germany stood at 3,675.

The number of coronavirus cases doubled since Wednesday and more than tripled in the past six days.

France has recorded 3,660 cases with 80 deaths.

According to reports, the French government has moved to ban gatherings of more than 100 people in public places in French territory to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told TF1 TV: “We are going to pass this limit on gatherings of 100 people.”

Reports said at least 10 other European countries are enforcing the closure of international borders.

Denmark has closed its borders to foreign visitors since Saturday.

The Czech Republic has banned all foreigners from entering the country, except those with residence permits.

The country has also banned most of its own nationals from leaving the nation.

Slovakia has closed borders to all foreigners except those with a residence permit and Austria has closed three land border crossings with Italy to all foreigners, except those with a medical certificate issued within four days.

However, there is no restriction on the Austrian nationals.

While Ukraine has closed border crossings to foreigners (except diplomats) for two weeks, Hungary has closed the land borders with Austria and Slovenia.

Poland has also announced the closure of its borders to foreign visitors from Sunday.

Meanwhile, Spain and France have followed Italy in announcing emergency restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

In Spain, people are banned from leaving home except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work.

In France, the cafes, restaurants, cinemas and most shops are now shut.

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