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Europe is now the 'epicentre' of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the head of the World Health Organization.
The disease was first identified in Wuhan, China, and has spread across the globe and the Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu says Europe is now the epicentre.
"Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic... more cases are reported every day than in China at the height of its epidemic."- Channel 5 News (@5_News) March 13, 2020
The WHO Director-General has said that Europe is now at the centre of the #CoronavirusPandemic, and more than 5,000 people have died globally. pic.twitter.com/w80rkyagBk
Speaking in a press conference, he said: "More than 132,000 cases of Covid-19 have now been reported to the WHO from 123 countries and territories; 5,000 people have lost their lives - a tragic milestone.
"Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic."
He continued: "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."
Within Europe, Italy has been the worst affected so far with the number of infections currently standing at 15,113. The government has subsequently imposed the strictest lockdown in Europe, with all shops apart from pharmacies and those stocking food now closed.
The country's foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, said he hoped the tough measures would mean Italy would be the first nation in the continent to overcome the disease.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "Italy was the first nation in Europe to be affected so badly, but I hope it also means that Italy is the first one to leave the emergency behind.
"Our grandfathers were drafted to go to war; we're being asked to stay at home.
"If a doctor and a nurse can work for 24 hours non-stop, we can give up leaving our own home. The huge majority of citizens are respecting the rules. Those who aren't will face sanctions: either fines or criminal charges."
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