Europe struggles to contain coronavirus: Number of cases tops 22,000, with more than half in Italy, as Denmark becomes SECOND country on the continent to go into lockdown
- Total confirmed infections in Europe have risen to 23,339 with 951 fatalities
- Italy has highest number of cases in continent with 12,149 cases and 827 deaths
- Death in Sweden of elderly woman is the first in the whole Nordic-Baltic region
- Belgium, Bulgaria and Albania reported first virus-related deaths on Wednesday
- Poland and Ukraine close all universities, museums, theatres and cinemas
The number of cases of the coronavirus in Europe has topped 22,000, with Italy still the hardest hit country as Denmark also goes into lockdown.
Total confirmed infections in Europe has risen to 23,339 with 951 deaths, according to a new tally which is compiled from official sources.
In Italy, the number has risen to 12,149 cases with 827 fatalities.
It comes as more European countries are reporting their first deaths of people with the new contagion.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced today that all schools, universities, and kindergartens will be shut for two weeks to slow the spread of the virus.
Tough new measures will also include banning indoor events with 100 or more participants, and sending non-critical public sector employees home.
Private sector workers will also be encouraged to work from home, after the Danish Patient Safety Authority reported 442 new cases yesterday.
A medical worker measuring the body temperature of a motorist at the Slovenian-Italian border crossing near Nova Gorica today
A sanitary worker wearing protective clothes disinfecting a market in Tirana today
Men in protective coveralls carrying out the disinfection of electric public transport as a means to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in Odesa, southern Ukraine
The death in Sweden of an elderly woman who had been in intensive care represented the first virus-related death for the whole Nordic-Baltic region.
A doctor with the regional hospital authority in Stockholm emphasised that the experience elsewhere indicates it’s ‘the elderly and especially the elderly with other underlying illnesses that have the most serious consequences of COVID-19’.
Ireland also recorded the country’s first death of a person infected with the coronavirus.
The Department of Health said the person had an underlying illness but gave no other details. There have been 34 confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland.
Belgium, Bulgaria and Albania reported their first virus-related deaths earlier on Wednesday.
Italy’s justice minister said 12 prison inmates died of drug overdoses and 16 others escaped during riots at more than two-dozen prisons sparked by new virus containment measures designed to halt the spread.
The riots on Sunday and Monday broke out after corrections authorities suspended or limited family visits for two weeks to prevent the spread of infections.
While briefing the Italian Parliament on the prison riots, Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede said the unrest involved some 6,000 prisoners at facilities around the country.
A medical official with protective gear walking inside a plane while taking the body temperature of passengers who arrived on a flight from New York at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev today
The Piazza San Marco in Venice today as tourists and locals stay away from the usual hotspots of the city after the country went into lockdown
A Slovenian police officer redirecting a car with Italian plates from traffic at the Slovenian-Italian border crossing near Nova Gorica after Slovenia’s government announced it would close its border with Italy
Swiss customs authorities have shut down nine border crossings with Italy, the epicentre of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, to channel border traffic through seven other sites.
The move announced today follows a decision by Italian authorities to continue to allow cross-border traffic with Switzerland despite adopting strong quarantine measures across Italy.
Neighbours Austria and Slovenia have barred travellers from Italy without a medical certificate.
Swiss customs officials are advising tourists from Italy to refrain from travelling to Switzerland by rail or road ‘insofar as possible’.
Spain’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 2,000, with roughly half of them in the Madrid region, where two-thirds of the country’s virus deaths have occurred.
Two more Disneyland Paris maintenance workers also tested positive for the virus.
They were diagnosed with the illness just days after going into quarantine when their colleague tested positive over the weekend.
The park has responded to the growing number of cases among members of staff by closing two attractions.
Poland closed all schools, museums and cinemas, while Ukraine’s capital city Kiev will shut all educational buildings due to fears of the virus spreading.
Both countries have lower rates of infection compared to the rest of Europe, but Polish ministers said that pre-schools and schools would stop teaching on Thursday.
Universities, museums, theatres and cinemas will also close on Thursday for two weeks, the officials said.
The move is also being carried out by Poland’s neighbour, Ukraine, in its capital city, Kiev. Poland has confirmed 26 cases of coronavirus while Ukraine has one registered case.
A woman walking past a closed shop in the Usera neighborhood, Madrid
A sanitary worker wearing protective clothes disinfecting a bin in a park in Tirana today
Actresses in Greece were today seen rehearsing for the Olympic Games torch-lighting ceremony which will be held away from the public due to coronavirus fears.
The Greek Olympic Committee confirmed on Monday that the ceremony would be held without spectators after dozens of people tested positive for COVID-19 across the western Peloponnese.
Only 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 committee of the 700 initially invited will be allowed to attend Thursday’s event in Olympia, where the ancient Games were held.
Photographs from the dress rehearsal, which was also closed to the public, captured Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou as she held the torch of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Japan said cancelling the 2020 Tokyo Games is ‘inconceivable’.
Britain’s Treasury chief has announced a £30 billion package of measures designed to help the economy as it struggles in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Rishi Sunak, who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for less than a month, said Britain’s government would do ‘whatever it takes’ to shore up the economy through what he said will be a ‘temporary disruption’.
The Bank of England issued an emergency rate cut earlier Wednesday, slashing its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 0.25%. Britain has 373 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.
Sunak said the government will provide whatever resources the National Health Service needs to get through the outbreak, which he said could affect one-in-five workers.
He said the government’s statutory sick pay will apply to anyone who has to self-isolate, even without showing any symptoms.
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