Denmark shuts down all schools and universities as coronavirus cases rise

Denmark has announced a drastic move to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus, with all schools and universities closed and some public sector workers sent home.

The Scandinavian country has seen 514 people diagnosed with coronavirus as of Wednesday (local time), which has risen 10-fold since Monday, the prime minister said the schools and universities would shut down and public sector employees with non-critical jobs would be turned away from work.

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The European country’s Health Minister, Magnus Heunicke, described this week’s rise in coronavirus as “the most dramatic increase seen in Europe”.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said day-care centres would be closed from Monday and university and school students sent home from Friday.

Ms Frederiksen urged all events with more than 100 people to be cancelled, tightening the number from 1000 previously.

Outbreak of coronavirus declared a pandemic

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the deadly outbreak of coronavirus a pandemic on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Tedros said WHO had been left with no choice but to use the term.

It had been avoiding labelling it a pandemic over fears of a repeat of the hysteria created during the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009.

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” he said.

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.”

This is the first pandemic – the spread of a disease worldwide – caused by a coronavirus.

“And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time,” he said.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm, and protect the citizens of the world.

“It’s doable.”

Trump suspends all travel from Europe to the US

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday (local time) the United States will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days starting on Friday in order to fight the coronavirus.

Trump said the travel restrictions do not apply to the United Kingdom.

COVID-19 has so far been confirmed in 114 countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2020. Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS
US President Donald Trump has suspended all flights to Europe from the US. Source: Reuters

There have been more than 120,000 cases globally and 4386 deaths, while more than 68,000 people have recovered.

On Wednesday, Italy’s death toll surged by 31 per cent to 827.

At the end of February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia would be treating the outbreak as a global pandemic and health authorities were preparing for a significant surge in cases.

On Thursday morning, Mr Morrison told Nine’s Today show such a move had allowed Australia to “get ahead”.

Dire scenes at the Trevi Fountain in Rome as the tourist hotspot is completely deserted. Source: Getty
Dire scenes at the Trevi Fountain in Rome as the tourist hotspot is completely deserted. Source: Getty

The first case of coronavirus was also detected in the ACT on Thursday, with a man in his 30s testing positive to COVID-19 at the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre in Canberra’s southern suburbs.

Health authorities say the person is being care for and precautions are being taken to ensure the ongoing safety of staff and the broader community.

With Reuters and AAP

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