As the global death toll from coronavirus rises, the World Health Organisation has now pointed to Europe as the “epicentre” of the pandemic. Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “More than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 have now reported to the WHO from 123 countries and territories. 5000 people have lost their lives, a tragic milestone. Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.”

The WHO had earlier declared that the crisis is now a pandemic.

Dr Ghebreyesus said: “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.

“WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

The UK Government’s latest advice for coronavirus is that from today, anyone with a new and continuous cough or a temperature should stay at home for seven days.

There is no need to call NHS 111 unless your condition deteriorates.

There are no plans to close schools straight away, but teachers have been advised to cancel any trips abroad.

Mass gatherings, including sporting events, have not yet been banned, although many have been cancelled by organisers.

There are now 798 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK.

This is up by 208 from yesterday according to the Department of Health.

Scotland has had its first death of a patient with coronavirus, an elderly patient with underlying health conditions.

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Dr Ghebreyesus also added: “We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

“As I said on Monday, just looking at the number of cases and the number of countries affected, does not tell the full story.”

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