Germany and France have imposed stringent new measures to limit social contact as countries across Europe try to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced a forced lockdown, a step similar to what was imposed in Italy and Spain to curb to virus spread Mr Macron also said the European Union’s external borders would be closed to travelers from Tuesday saying “We’re in a health war”.
In Germany, most non-grocery shops and venues have been ordered to shut down. Chancellor Angela Merkel also banned religious services and told people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel. Schools across the country have already been shut.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not announce compulsory restrictions but urged people to avoid pubs and clubs and refrain from non-essential travel or having contact with others.
Meanwhile the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said governments were not doing enough to combat the pandemic, and urged them to step up their testing programmes.
“You can’t fight a fire blindfolded and we can’t stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected,” he said at a news conference in Geneva. “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test.”
There have been more than 174,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally and over 6,700 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University