Germany will partially close its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark as it steps up efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the new checks will take effect at 8 a.m. Monday.
People who commute across the border to work will still be able to cross, as will goods. However, people “without a valid reason to travel will no longer be allowed to enter and leave” Germany, added Seehofer.
The minister stressed that German citizens in the neighbouring countries will be allowed back in.
Germany had confirmed nearly 4,000 infections with the virus by Saturday, and authorities have reported 11 deaths.
Germany’s northern neighbour, Denmark, and eastern neighbours Poland and the Czech Republic already closed their own frontiers in recent days.
Germany also has borders with the Netherlands and Belgium, which are not affected.
At a glance: key coronavirus developments
UK coronavirus death toll hits 35, as further 14 patients who tested positive for the virus have died.
The Vatican’s Holy Week ceremonies will go ahead but without public attendance.
Poland restores checks on its land borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia on Sunday.
Bosnia forces incoming residents to stay in tents for 14 days.
Italy on Saturday said its death toll rose by 175 in 24 hours to 1,441 victims.
Spain declared state of emergency and announced a partial lockdown after a sharp rise in cases.
France closes all its bar, restaurants and other non-essential outlets. But municipal elections will go ahead on Sunday.
Denmark announces first death from the virus.
Romania announces a state of emergency starting on Monday.
Wuhan football team leaving Spain to escape coronavirus.
WHO declares Europe the new ‘epicentre’ of the pandemic on Friday.
Italy records 368 new deaths in 24 hours
Some 3,590 more cases of the coronavirus were reported in Italy in a 24-hour period, nearly 100 more than the increase as the day before.
The additional infections reported on Sunday represent the country’s biggest day-to-day increase.
Italy’s Civil Protection chief Angelo Borrelli announced the latest number of cases, bringing the total number of people with the new coronavirus to 24,747.
The number of deaths increased by 368 to 1,809.
Lombardy remains by far the most affected region with 1,218 deaths and 13,272 cases.
Local authorities are voicing their concern about the capacity of their hospital system, which is one of the most efficient in Europe, as it responds to the pandemic.
“Figures continue to rise. We will soon reach the point where we will no longer have any beds for intensive care,” warned Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana in an interview with Sky TG24 on Sunday before the publication of the latest report.
Lombardy’s top health official, Giulio Gallera, had already made similar remarks: “In Lombardy, we still have 15 to 20 intensive therapy beds. We are close to the point of no return.”
According to Fontana, the setup of a temporary hospital with 500 places for intensive therapy is being planned in two pavilions at the Milan Fair.
According to the World Health Organisation, the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 recover within weeks.
Italy’s national health institute chief Silvio Brusaferro said it is not known if Italy is reaching its peak and might start seeing the number of new cases decline.
Deaths in Spain double in a day to 288
Spanish health authorities said deaths from the coronavirus have more than doubled in 24 hours, while total infections approached 8,000 on Sunday.
The Health Ministry said Spain has recorded 288 deaths since the start of the pandemic, up from 136 on Saturday.
The European Union nation has 7,753 infections, up from 5,700 on Saturday, with around half of them concentrated in the capital of Madrid.
The jump comes a day after Spain’s government declared a state of emergency and took extraordinary measures to limit movement to commuting to work and necessary errands.
It has also closed restaurants, bars, most retail shops and reduced public transport.
Austria limits people’s movement nationwide
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the Austria Press Agency on Sunday that there should be only three reasons for people to leave home: essential work, essential purchases such as food, and helping other people.
He said that people will be able to go out “only alone or with the people with whom (they) live in their apartment.”
Kurz’s comments came shortly after the governor of Tyrol province had announced a lockdown for his Alpine region.
Austria, a country of some 8 million people, has confirmed 800 infections with the new coronavirus.
People over 70 will be told to self-isolate in the UK
Elderly people in the UK will be told to self-isolate “within the coming weeks” the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told British channel Sky News on Sunday.
Hancock was speaking as he addressed growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
He said the government had set out the future restrictions, which include asking the vulnerable and those over 70 to self-isolate for up to four months, in its action plan to tackle the virus.
Hancock also called on manufacturers to help build more ventilators which he said were “critical” in the battle to help those who are ill.
“We start with around 5,000 ventilators. We think we need many times more than that,” Hancock said. “So anybody who can should turn their production and their engineering minds over to the production of ventilators.”
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.__EuroNews