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As it happened: US declares state of emergency, WHO warns Europe now 'epicentre' of coronavirus

Police check cars at the exit of the Paznaun Valley on March 13, 2020 in Tyrol, Austria.
Police check cars at the exit of the Paznaun Valley on March 13, 2020 in Tyrol, Austria. © Jakob Gruber, AFP

US President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to make up to $50 billion available for US states and territories to fight its spread. Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization warned that Europe was now the "epicentre" of the pandemic, reporting more daily cases than China did at the height of its outbreak. Review our FRANCE 24 live blog for the news as it happened.



  • US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that he said makes up to $50 billion in aid available for US states and territories.
  • Thousands of Algerians marched against the country’s ruling elite despite the coronavirus pandemic. In downtown Algiers, police wore face masks and a group of youngsters sold protective gear and liquid soap.
  • In the US Democratic presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden is holding a town hall for Illinois voters from 800 miles away in Delaware, while Senator Bernie Sanders has ceased holding rallies around the country and is staging daily news conferences in his home state of Vermont.
  • Egypt reported 13 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the country’s total to 93.
  • "Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a virtual press conference, describing the more than 5,000 deaths worldwide as "a tragic milestone".
  • In France, 79 people have died of the coronavirus (up from 61 on Thursday), while the number of cases has climbed to 3,661. All schools, crèches and universities across France will be closed from Monday.
  • Stock markets rebounded after Thursday’s plunge with European stocks staging a comeback, rising 8 percent by Friday afternoon after recording early losses. The Dow rose 773.20 points, or 3.6 percent, at opening to 21,973.82.
  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced a two-week state of emergency beginning Saturday.
  • Italy remains on a nationwide lockdown as its coronavirus death toll jumped by 250 in one day to 1,266, an increase of 25 percent. The country's total number of cases rose to 17,660 from 15,113, an increase of 17 percent.
  • China reported its lowest-ever number of new coronavirus cases: just eight on Friday, with no new domestic infections outside Hubei province.
  • Major sports events have been cancelled, including Champions League and Premier League matches.


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