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More and more infected are quarantined in the affected countries. Photo: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann

Covid-19: WHO declares a pandemic

"The WHO has assessed that Covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic." This was announced by the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference in Geneva.

Published: March 12, 2020, 7:46 am

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    The WHO is also “deeply concerned about both the alarming levels of diffusion and severity, and the alarming levels of inaction” against the Coronavirus. However, they said they were “grateful for the measures taken in Iran, Italy and South Korea” to slow down the virus and control the Covid-19 epidemic.

    President Trump has ordered a complete travel ban from European nations for the next 30 days (starting at midnight on Friday). The ban does not include the United Kingdom.

    The US meanwhile has scaled back the largest transfer of troops in Europe on the occasion of the Defender Europe 20 exercises. It has not announced precautions for its soldiers faced with the Coronavirus epidemic and the US has declared deliberations as classified.

    Italian League chief Matteo Salvini has called for a protection zone for all of Europe because of the spread of the virus. This is necessary not only “because the virus is a threat that needs to be addressed with the necessary determination”, but also “to avoid the misery of the trade wars that are being prepared,” the former Italian interior minister told Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Wednesday.

    Some EU countries were considering additional controls for the import of Italian cheese, requested the disinfection of truck wheels or wanted to stop the import of furniture and machinery from Italy. “The virus will not get past it and is spreading in several countries. So I wonder why we are not thinking of a European red zone,” he said.

    The Italian government issued a decree Tuesday night that declared all of Italy to be the so-called red zone. The individual’s freedom of movement was massively restricted.

    Accordingly, citizens are only allowed to leave their home communities for good reason. This includes the way to work. Bars and restaurants must close at 6 pm and a minimum distance of one meter from the guests should be observed. Kindergartens, schools and universities across the country are closed until April 3. Church services are also not allowed to take place during this time.

    Austria imposed similar measures and prohibited all outdoor events with more than 500 and indoor events with more than 100 participants. The government also introduced border controls and accordingly, only those who can show a medical certificate can travel to Austria from Italy since it has the highest number of Covid-19 deaths outside of China.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) made a public statement on the Corona crisis on Wednesday . “The virus has arrived in Europe, it’s here, we all have to understand that,” she said in Berlin. She appealed to the population to help stop the virus from spreading.

    She told her parliamentary group that 60-70 percent of all Germans will catch the virus. Most of them will fall ill and at a 1 percent death rate this means that more than 500 000 Germans will die from it. The Chancellor did not say how she would try to prevent that.

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