COVID-19 in Europe: Daily bulletin, 16 March
Updated 02:30, 17-Mar-2020
Arij Limam


- The European Union proposes member states impose a 30-day travel ban on all non-essential travel into the bloc

- The World Health Organization says "you cannot fight a fire blindfolded," urging countries to "test, test, test" every suspected case

- Berlin angered by U.S. attempts to buy exclusive rights to COVID-19 vaccine from a German medical company

- French luxury goods group and owner of Louis Vuitton, LVMH, to start making hand sanitizer at perfume factories for French hospitals

- Greece to impose a two-week quarantine on anyone entering the country, regardless of nationality

- Norway bans foreign nationals without a residence permit from entering the country

- Ukraine cracks down on attempts to smuggle face masks abroad after 50,000 were seized before crossing the Polish border

- Moscow to build new specialist hospital for coronavirus patients with 500 beds – similar to medical facilities built from scratch in China

- Geneva imposes emergency measures including a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than five people

- Hungary to close borders, postpone events and take fiscal and monetary steps to contain the impact of the virus

- Italy records biggest one-day rise in deaths, 368, on Sunday. The death toll in the country now stands at 1,809 

- Georgia (33 cases) bans all foreigners from entering the country

- Northern Irish mother of at-risk child to start legal challenge against Britain's decision to keep schools open

- UK government to hold daily press conferences to update public on fight against the virus

- Spanish ministers say emergency measures to be extended beyond 15 days

- Czechia tightens restrictions on movement and public gatherings until 24 March

- Britain asks manufacturers including Ford, Honda and Rolls-Royce to help make ventilators and will look at using hotels as hospitals.

- New York, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Connecticut order shutdown of bars, restaurants and theaters

- Bahrain reports first death from the virus in the Gulf




By Ross Cullen in Paris

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 127 people in France, the second largest number in Europe after Italy.

Meanwhile, 900 people tested positive for the virus on Sunday, bringing the total number of people being treated in the country to more than 5,000.

Monday marks the first working day under the new national lockdown conditions. Only essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations are open, with all bars, restaurants, cinemas and clothes stores shut until further notice.

Schools and universities are also closed from today and thousands of holidaymakers are heading home from ski resorts, which have also been shuttered.

Bars, restaurants and shops close in a nationwide lockdown in France. / Stefano Rellandini/AFP

Bars, restaurants and shops close in a nationwide lockdown in France. / Stefano Rellandini/AFP


By Natalie Carney in Germany

Germany has ramped up its precautionary measures against COVID-19 substantially as the number of cases soars to nearly 6,000.

On Monday, the country closed its borders to five neighboring EU states: France, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and Luxembourg. Road travel across these borders will only be allowed for cross-border workers and goods.

Horst Seehofer, the interior minister, has asked citizens to absolutely refrain from any non-essential travel and said people "without a valid reason to travel will no longer be allowed to enter and leave."

In addition, all schools and childcare centers will be closed across the country starting on Monday. Sporting events and public gatherings of more than 1,000 people have also been postponed or canceled. 

Swimming pools, bars, clubs, and cinemas are to be closed, while the opening hours of restaurants and shops are expected to be reduced in the coming days.

Germany closes its borders to five neighboring EU states, allowing road travel only for cross-border workers or goods. /Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Germany closes its borders to five neighboring EU states, allowing road travel only for cross-border workers or goods. /Sebastien Bozon/AFP


By Toni Waterman in Belgium

As more and more European nations close their borders, the European leadership in Brussels is warning of potential disruption to supply chains. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that if action isn't taken immediately to keep the single market operating, "shops will start facing difficulties in refilling their stocks."

Von der Leyen also announced strict restrictions on the export of protective gear such as masks and gloves to non-EU states. Member countries wishing to export such supplies will need "explicit authorization of member states' governments." 

The UK, which is in its post-Brexit transition phase, is expected to follow this rule as well, even though it technically left the bloc in January. 

The Commission President also said the bloc would launch a joint procurement program on Monday for testing kits and ventilators.




- The European Investment Bank said the EU could provide 28-40 billion euros immediately to struggling companies hit by the virus

- European shares plummeted to 2012 lows on Monday

- Global stock markets plunged despite central banks around the world announcing coordinated efforts to ease the effects of the virus

- U.S. stocks plunged 7 percent as Wall Street plummeted for the third time in a week after the Federal Reserve’s decision to slash rates to near-zero levels on Sunday

- The EU economy is likely to shrink 1 percent this year. But officials say internal European Commission estimates pointed to a recession of even 2.5 percent

- European airlines including British Airways, Finnair, easyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian Air and Air-France-KLM scrap most flights as virus brings industry to near-halt

- Russia is to create a 300-billion rouble ($4 billion) anti-crisis fund to try to shield its economy from the coronavirus shock

- Auto maker Fiat Chrysler will halt production through to 27 March at the majority of its plants in Europe

- French car maker PSA which owns Peugeot, Opel and Vauxhall will close European factories until 27 March, while Renault to shut down production at 12 industrial sites in France until further notice

- Sweden presented a package of measures worth more than 300 billion Swedish crowns ($30.94 billion) to support the economy



- China pledges medical supplies to Spain and the Philippines to fight coronavirus outbreak

- COVID-19 Global Roundup: How major economies have reacted financially

CGTN Europe has been providing in-depth coverage of the novel coronavirus story as it has unfolded. Here you can read the essential information about the crisis.