Europe has become the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, with countries across the continent reporting large increases every day.
Italy, the worst-hit country outside of China, has recorded a total of 23,073 positive cases and 2,158 deaths, in figures released by its health ministry on Monday. Some 2,749 have recovered.
Spain, the next most affected, posted an extra 1,438 cases today, bringing its total to 9,191, while Germany has 6,012 – up 1,174 from yesterday – and suffered 13 deaths.
Switzerland has 1,680 confirmed cases, with 2,200 having had an initial positive test, according to its health ministry, with 14 deaths.
The UK has announced it has 1,543 confirmed cases, with 53 people having died after testing positive for the virus.
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In a bid to fight the outbreak, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced a proposal to ban travel to the European Union for 30 days.
In a video posted to Twitter, she said: “The less travel, the more we can contain the virus.”
She added that it would be a “temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union” and said: “These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days which can be prolonged as necessary.”
The @EU_Commission presents guidelines on border measures & proposes:
1⃣Green lanes/fast lanes giving priority to essential transport to keep the mobility sector going & ensure economic continuity
2⃣Temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU (30 days) pic.twitter.com/9bda9MntF0
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 16, 2020
Her idea also recommends fast lanes for essential travel, like the emergency services or movement of medical goods, and changes to EU rules on state aid to allow governments to prop up businesses that struggle with the virus’s impact.
European states have developed different methods of trying to stem the virus’s spread but several have introduced similar restrictions, with France banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people and closing schools.
Germany has brought in temporary controls at its border with France and large gatherings have been banned.
Spain, meanwhile, has introduced a nationwide shutdown to deal with its outbreak.
On Monday, Boris Johnson advised people to avoid pubs and other social venues as part of a series of new recommendations for slowing the virus’s spread in the UK.