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Coronavirus: Denmark becomes latest country to impose lockdown after surge in cases

Yahoo! News UK logo Yahoo! News UK 12/03/2020 Ellen Manning

Denmark has become the latest country to announce a lockdown in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, with all schools and universities closed and some public sector workers sent home.

The move comes as the UK government was expected to announce the switch to a ‘delay phase’ that could include some social restrictions like working from home or cancelling events where large numbers of people gather.

Italy has already imposed a lockdown on certain areas, with people threatened with fines or jails if they break the rules, while Donald Trump has banned travel to the US from 26 European countries - though not the UK - in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

Mette Frederiksen et al. looking at the camera: Mette Frederiksen Prime Minister of Denmark as seen at forum Europa building having a doorstep press and media briefing during the second day of a special European Council, EURO summit, EU leaders meeting about for the negotiations of the future planning of the next long term budget, financial framework of the European Union. Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Mette Frederiksen Prime Minister of Denmark as seen at forum Europa building having a doorstep press and media briefing during the second day of a special European Council, EURO summit, EU leaders meeting about for the negotiations of the future planning of the next long term budget, financial framework of the European Union. Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As of Wednesday, Denmark had seen 514 people diagnosed with coronavirus - a number that had risen 10-fold since Monday.

Announcing the lockdown, Prime Minister Mette Fredericksen said day-care centres would be closed from Monday and university and school students sent home from Friday, and also urged all events with more than 100 people to be cancelled, tightening the number from 1000 previously.

Read more: Greta Thunberg speaks out on coronavirus: 'Back the experts'

Read more: Coronavirus: Hollywood star Tom Hanks and his wife test positive

The move comes after the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of Covid-19 a pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organisation had been avoiding using the label over fears of a repeat of the hysteria created during the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009 but had been left with no choice.

He said: “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.

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

So far, coronavirus has been confirmed in 114 countries.

There have been 126,660 confirmed cases globally and 4,641 deaths, while 68,300 people have recovered.

As of Thursday there had been 459 confirmed cases and eight deaths, along with 18 recoveries.

a close up of a map: The numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). (Picture: John Hopkins University) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK The numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). (Picture: John Hopkins University)
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