More than 100 million Europeans in lockdown as Spain announces emergency quarantine and Italian virus cases surge – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – March 16, 2020)

Spain joined Italy in national lockdown, raising the total of Europeans in quarantine to more than 100 million, with several other countries preparing similar isolation measures to try to slow the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus from its northern Italian epicentre.

On the weekend, as Italian COVID-19 cases continued to rise at alarming rates, a surge in Spanish COVID-19 infections and deaths forced the government to adopt an Italian-style quarantine that left almost all stores closed.

Euronews reported that some near-death Italian patients who were still conscious used iPads to make video calls to family and friends, who are not allowed to visit them in the emergency wards.

Since late February, more COVID-19 cases have been reported outside China than inside it. The World Health Organization is now calling Europe the epicentre of the outbreak and noted that it is recording more cases than China did at the peak of the Chinese outbreak earlier his year.

On Monday, European Union finance ministers were set to discuss by video conference how to reach a co-ordinated economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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