The coronavirus pandemic has crossed 200,000 positive cases in Europe, including more than 53,000 in Italy, according to an AFP report citing its own tally. Italy and Spain have been hit worst by the pandemic on the continent. With at least 152,117 cases, including 7,802 deaths, Europe is the continent worst hit by the pandemic, ahead of Asia which has 96,669 declared cases, including 3,479 deaths. The official figures likely only reflect a fraction of the real number of infections, as many countries only test cases needing hospitalization.
With Europe now the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic, the European Union has slammed shut its external borders to halt the spread of COVID-19. Countries like France, Spain, and Italy have also imposed lockdowns on their populations to restrict movements and halt the spread of the virus.
Earlier the World Health Organization warned that the pace of the disease spread was increasing worldwide. It took just four days for the number of global cases to grow from 200,000 to over 300,000. The pandemic has forced many nations to impose an unprecedented lockdown and caused an economic slowdown. The number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe has surpassed 10,000, the agency reported earlier on March 23.
China, where the deadly coronavirus was first reported, remains among the countries hit hardest by it but has managed to contain the disease with strict quarantine. Beijing is currently concerned about a possible resurgence of the virus, should it be imported back from some other nation. In Europe, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK have a large number of cases. So does the United States, which international health officials fear may become the new epicenter of the epidemic. In the Middle East Iran was hit hardest by the virus, with over 1,800 reported deaths.
In Suhl, eastern Germany, 200 police were called in after brawls broke out in a refugee home where 533 people were quarantined. Twenty-two were sent for confinement in a former juvenile prison. The quarantines had been ordered after several cases of COVID-19 were detected among refugees in Germany.
Meanwhile, people are only allowed to claim asylum at present if they can show a negative test for COVID-19 or after submitting to 14 days of quarantine. Volunteers and non-government organizations fear that locked up in close quarters, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, the confinement will do little to slow the virus' spread.
In the Calais area in northern France, lockdown measures and fear of infection have reduced the number of volunteers working with the 2,000 migrants there, putting an end to food handouts. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover. The outbreak has caused more than 10,000 deaths out of nearly 245,000 cases worldwide.