WHO warns Europe is coronavirus ‘epicentre’ as outbreak continues to spread 0

The World Health Organisation warned Friday that Europe was now the “epicentre” for the global coronavirus pandemic and reporting more daily cases than China did at the height of its outbreak. This statement came as the outbreak continued to spread across the world, provoking further closures and travel bans in an attempt to contain it, and big swings on financial markets. Follow our FRANCE 24 live blog for the latest news as it happens.

“Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a virtual press conference, describing the more than 5,000 deaths worldwide as “a tragic milestone”.

The Louvre Museum will be closing Friday evening at 6 until further notice following a French government directive banning gatherings of more than 100 people in a bid to contain the coronavirus’s spread. All schools, crèches and universities across France will be closed from Monday.

In France, 61 people have died of the virus. The number of cases was put at 2,876, an increase of 595 cases and 13 deaths from Wednesday.

Stock markets rebounded after Thursday’s plunge with European stocks staging a comeback, rising 8 percent by Friday afternoon after recording early losses. The Dow rose 773.20 points, or 3.6 percent, at opening to 21,973.82.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced a two-week state of emergency beginning Saturday.

Major sports events have been cancelled, including the Champions League and the  Premier League.

China reported its lowest-ever number of new coronavirus cases: just eight on Friday, with no new domestic infections outside Hubei province.

Italy, which has recorded nearly 15,113 coronavirus cases and 1,016 deaths, remains on a nationwide lockdown.

Culled from France 24