Mar 27, 2020 14:50 UTC
  • 7 in 10 coronavirus deaths reported in Europe: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 70 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths have been reported in Europe as the flu-like pathogen continues to take its toll across the globe.

Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, made the announcement at a press conference in Geneva, saying about 60 percent of cases infected by the deadly virus worldwide were also reported in Europe.

According to an AFP tally, a total of 15,500 fatalities have been reported across Europe, most of them in Italy with 8,165 people and Spain with 4,089, followed by France with 1,331.

With 268,191 officially declared positive cases, Europe is the continent worst hit by the coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year.

Kluge also cautioned governments and citizens to be aware of the "new reality" created by the pandemic and prepare for the long term impact, saying, "This is not going to be a sprint, this is going to be a marathon.”

The novel coronavirus, a respiratory disuse known as the COVID-19, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, incrementally infecting some 185 countries across the world.

Main measures taken in Europe

As the new coronavirus shows no signs of stopping, many European countries have adopted severe measures to contain the outbreak, including imposing lockdown measures and closing businesses and borders, as well as limiting public gatherings.

Citizens in Austria, Belgium, Britain, The Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Spain have been ordered to stay at home except for medical attention, exercise or essential shopping.

In Spain, the second worst-hit country in Europe after Italy, the confinement has been extended to April 11, and in Austria till April 13.

French authorities are also expected to announce an extension of the ongoing confinement until April 28.

Romania has declared a state of emergency, and a curfew is in place in Serbia.

Finland is scheduled to impose isolation on its capital and other high-risk provinces across the country from Friday to April 19.

This comes as the European Union has since March 17 imposed an entry ban on travelers from outside the bloc for an initial period of 30 days, with limited exceptions.

Moreover, government authorities in Germany and Poland have banned public gatherings of more than two people.

UK fatalities rise by more than 100 in one day

Elsewhere in Europe, the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK jumped on Thursday by more than 100 in a single-day tally for the first time.

British health officials confirmed that the death toll has risen from 475 to 578, with the number of confirmed cases standing at 11,658.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents the heads of hospital trusts in the state-run National Health Service, said there had been an "explosion of demand" in the capital.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Britons on Monday to stay home to halt the spread of the virus, imposing curbs on everyday life.

Additionally, the office of Britain’s Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to Queen Elizabeth II, said that he had tested positive for the coronavirus but was in good health and was self-isolating in Scotland.