THE World Health Organisation has said Europe is now the "epicentre" of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Chief, said that the number of deaths surpassing 5,000 was a "tragic milestone" and that it is "impossible" to predict the peak of the deadly virus.
The WHO chief told reporters in Geneva this afternoon that it was time for the world to respond seriously to the virus.
He said: "More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.
"Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach.
"Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks 'that won’t happen to us' is making a deadly mistake. It can happen to anyone."
He also announced the launch of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which will help raise money to combat the virus.
Dr Ghebreyesus added: "Until now, we have been relying mainly on governments to support the COVID19 response.
"Now everyone can contribute.
"Funds raised will be used to coordinate the response, to buy masks, gloves, gowns and goggles for health workers, to buy diagnostic tests, to improve surveillance, and to invest in research and development."
Just yesterday, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 victims in Iran has hit 429, and is the centre of one of the world's worst outbreaks.
In Italy, which is on lockdown, the number of deaths exceeded 1,000 on Thursday with over 15,000 cases confirmed.
It also emerged today that Italian medical chief Roberto Stella, who had been dealing with the coronavirus, died of the disease aged 67.
The tragic news comes as the total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the deadly bug, rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462.
Schools have now been shut down in countries across Europe including France, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania Algeria and Slovakia.
And France has considered closing its borders in a bid to stop the pandemic.
Last night President Emmanuel Macron called the COVID-19 outbreak the "worst health crisis in a century," and if borders had to be closed, the country would do so in line with the rest of the EU.
For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online, where we will bring you live updates as soon as they happen, before anyone else.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thesun, and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSun, where we will bring you this story and all the rest of the top news and exclusives of the day.
TheSun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video
Source: Read Full Article