Four confirmed cases of the virus have been recorded in the European Commission after a further three cases tested positive today according to Italian journalist David Carretta. The Commission has now cancelled training courses and other non-essential events until April 3.

A further three European Commission officials are awaiting their test results.

On Tuesday, EU leaders agreed to step up their response to the outbreak following the continued spread across the continent.

The 27 leaders held a teleconference on Tuesday evening focusing on containing the impact on the European economy.

With Italy now in lockdown, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new €25billion (£21.8billion) investment fund. 

Ms von der Leyen said: “We will use all of our means at our disposal to make sure that our economy can weather this storm.

“The spread of the virus takes place and will take place.

“The most important part right now is to slow down the spread to prolong the time before infection takes place.”

EU Council President Charles Michel insisted the markets must still function properly despite the outbreak.

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He warned any “unjustified obstacles” need to be avoided in order not to hinder EU trade even more so.

Italy has reported the highest amount of cases outside of China and currently stands at 10,149.

There have been a further 631 mortalities causing the country to placed into lockdown.

Due to the lockdown, all sporting events have been cancelled while schools and universities have also been shut until April 3.

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Transport will remain operational but the movements of the public will be restricted to try and restrict the spread of the contagion.

Only those with work or family needs will be allowed to travel.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: “Our habits must be changed, changed now. We all have to give up something for the good of Italy.

“We will succeed only if we all collaborate and we adapt right away to these more stringent norms.”

In light of the crisis spreading across the country, the Italian government has hit out at the EU for not coming to its aid quick enough.

Although EU officials did hold a conference to address the outbreak of the contagion across the continent, Italy’s ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari said Brussels needed to do more.

He warned Brussels must “go beyond engagement and consultations” and devise “emergency actions that are quick”.

Mr Massari said: “We must ensure, under EU coordination, the supply of the necessary medical equipment and its redistribution among those countries and regions most in need.

“Today, this means Italy; tomorrow, the need could be elsewhere. Italy has already asked to activate the European Union mechanism of civil protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection.

“But unfortunately not a single EU country responded to the commission’s call.

“Only China responded bilaterally. Certainly this is not a good sign of European solidarity.”

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