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Europe goes under lockdown as WHO calls for ‘boldest actions’ against coronavirus pandemic

PARIS: European countries moved into near total lockdown on Tuesday in a bid to halt the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus. The World Health Organization called for the “boldest actions” against the pandemic on the continent, the outbreak’s new epicentre.

From France to Germany to Spain, millions were confined to their homes as shops and restaurants closed and borders were sealed, while European leaders edged towards banning non-essential travel to the continent.

The draconian measures, never before seen in peacetime, have upended society and roiled financial markets, prompting governments to roll out emergency economic measures as fears mount of a global recession.

The sports world has been hammered too, with the Euro 2020 the latest tournament to be postponed and major doubts lingering over the fate of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.  The outbreak, which first emerged in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting more than 180,000 people and killing over 7,000.

Asian hotspots China and South Korea have seen new infections and deaths level out in recent weeks — China reported just one new domestic case on Tuesday — but numbers are ballooning across Europe, with Italy, Spain and France especially hard hit.

Africa, with its fragile healthcare systems, has also recorded more than 400 cases, and Latin America has more than 1,100, with the continent’s most populated country Brazil confirming its first death Tuesday.

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