Over 100,000 people across Europe had tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday (March 19) evening, prompting European governments to unleash more anti-virus measures.

People wearing masks are seen at the Montparnasse train station in Paris, France, March 19, 2020. One hundred and eight COVID-19 patients died in 24 hours in France, taking the country's death toll to 372, and total confirmed cases to 10,995, Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon said Thursday in a daily update. (Photo: Xinhua)

More than 40 European countries were hit by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Italy, Spain, Germany and France were the four hardest-hit, with each reporting more than 10,000 confirmed cases.

In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that the nationwide lockdown, which has been in place from March 10 to April 3 to stem the spreading coronavirus, will be extended. Other government officials said further tightening on movement could be on the cards.


In Italy, a total of 427 COVID-19 patients had died in 24 hours, taking the country's death toll to 3,405, according to new data released on Thursday by the Civil Protection Department.

The cumulative number of coronavirus cases reached 41,035, making Italy the hardest-hit country outside China, since the epidemic first broke out in its north on Feb. 21.

Spain recorded the second most cases among European countries after Italy. Spanish health authorities said the number of COVID-19 infections rose to 17,147 on Thursday, a 25-percent increase on Wednesday's figure of 13,716, with 767 deaths from the virus.

During a press conference, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Spain is approaching the peak in the number of COVID-19 cases. "We are reaching the hardest moments, in which we will see an increase in cases as we close in on the peak" of infections, he said.

Germany and France reported more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases on Thursday for the first time.

Data from Germany's disease control agency Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to 10,999 on Thursday, with 20 new deaths, bringing the death toll to over 40.

French Director General of Health Jerome Salomon announced on Thursday that France has detected 10,995 cases of coronavirus infection.

And 108 patients lost their lives in the past 24 hours, he noted, adding that 1,122 patients are currently in intensive care while 1,300 have recovered. He urged people to strictly respect the confinement order and cut contacts with others to curb the accelerating spread of the virus.


Conte said that the nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Italy will be extended beyond its initial April 3 deadline.

"We have avoided a total collapse of our system," the prime minister said in broadcast comments. "But the rigid measures taken by the government to counter the coronavirus emergency... will be extended beyond the deadline."

Italian government officials have been complaining for days that the current restrictions -- which include the closing of schools, restaurants, bars, tourist sites, offices, cinemas, or any other places where crowds may gather in close proximity -- have not been followed closely enough as Italy tries to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Now the limits will be extended and more strictly enforced, local media reported.

In neighboring Slovenia, the government announced partial lockdown with a decree, which bans gatherings and other events in public areas and restricts people's movement.

According to the decree, people will only be allowed to leave home to go to work, the pharmacy and to buy daily necessities at their closest shop. People will also be allowed to go outdoors and to parks, but only alone or with people living in the same household.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday pledged to invest EUR5 billion (US$5.35 billion) over the next decade to boost scientific research against the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision came as scientists and pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop vaccines to protect against the novel coronavirus, which has already claimed over 9,000 lives and infected more than 200,000 people globally.

Also on Thursday, the Finnish Minister for Basic Services and Health Krista Kiuru announced that the government is applying a ban to visits to hospitals and care homes to minimize the risk of older people becoming infected with COVID-19, urging people aged over 70 to avoid unnecessary social contact.


The European Central Bank (ECB) on Wednesday (March 18) night announced an emergency bond-buying program of EUR750 billion (US$800 billion) to counter the coronavirus risks.

"Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro. We are determined to use the full potential of our tools, within our mandate," ECB President Christine Lagarde tweeted following Wednesday's announcement.

The German government plans to support freelancers and small businesses with a maximum of 10 employees with financial funds of up to EUR50 billion to dampen the negative economic effects of the coronavirus, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt on Thursday.

The Greek government will support the economy with at least EUR10 billion, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday after announcing the 6th death of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Source: NDO

Related Topics

Removing “bottlenecks” in global problems

The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the world’s leading developed and emerging economies (G20) recently held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil emphasised the need to reform global governance institutions, especially the United Nations Security Council. The meeting is also an opportunity for G20 to find solutions to a series of hot issues facing the world, such as poverty, climate change, and conflict.

ASEAN FMs issue statement on maintaining, promoting stability in maritime sphere in Southeast Asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers on December 30 issued a statement on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia.

Optimistic signals of the world economy

The world economy has overcome a challenging year, but has proven more resilient than expected. The Financial Times (UK) commented that 2023 was a positive year for the world economy as the economic surprise index collated by Citigroup shew that actual data have underwhelmed economists’ predictions for much of the past months. These economic trends are the basis for optimism about the world economy in 2024.

Laos announces theme, logo of ASEAN Chairmanship 2024

Laos has announced the theme and logo for its the Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2024.

Vietnam elected Vice President of UNESCO General Conference

Vietnam was elected a Vice President of the 42nd session of the UNESCO’s General Conference, representing the Asia-Pacific, on November 8.

Safe and responsible use of AI promoted

Since the "blockbuster" ChatGPT was launched a year ago, the prospects for the development of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as concerns about the risks from this technology, have become hot topics in the technology world.