MARCH 13, 2020
A message reading ‘Wash Hands” is seen in the sky over Sydney, Australia, on March 13.
The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that “Europe has now become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic” while terming the over the 5,000 deaths due to the virus as “a tragic milestone”.
“It’s impossible for us to say when this will peak globally,” Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit said, adding,” “we hope that it is sooner rather than later”.
Italy which has been hit the hardest due to the virus has put the country on lockdown. The citizens have been ordered to stay at home till April 3 with just essential shops selling foodstuffs or healthcare items allowed to stay open.
Austria has decided to close non-essential shops from Monday and to close cafes and restaurants with Bulgaria too closing non-essential shops. Austria has also closed its border with Italy.
Belgium has ordered nightclubs, cafes and restaurants to be closed until April 3. The Czech Republic and Spain have also taken similar measures. Schools and universities have been closed across Europe with Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Ukraine asking students to stay home.
Gatherings too have been banned. Meanwhile, the European Commission has said that Italy will be provided with whatever support it needs to fight the COVID-19.
“We are absolutely ready to help Italy with whatever is necessary. This is of the utmost importance. This country is severely hit by coronavirus,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
“So whatever is necessary, we support. Whatever they will need, we will answer,” the EU chief added.
Follow the government’s latest travel advice if you are planning a trip outside India or travelling back to India from affected areas. You can also read World Health Organization’s advice on basic protective measures against the virus. The Ministry of Health’s special helpline is available at +91-11-23978046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.