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Europe is officially the new coronavirus epicentre

Europe is the new epicentre of the coronavirus. Credit: AP

Wednesday is the day that Europe officially became the new epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis, with the number of deaths by midday today reaching 3,421, compared with 3,384 for Asia.

The numbers are rising fast in Europe, while the rate of increase slows in China, South Korea and elsewhere.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

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Italy's hopes that the death rate may have plateaued have been dashed this evening, with news of 475 new deaths in the last 24 hours and 4,207 new cases confirmed.

These are big increases in both figures, and come despite the draconian lockdown across the country.

The total death toll is now just below 3,000.

The Government will be asking itself what more it can do.

France is in near-total lockdown. Credit: AP

France is now having to transfer critically-ill patients to military hospitals because civilian health care in some cities in close to breaking point.

The near total lockdown is being taken very seriously, but there is frustration that the UK is acting more slowly while British citizens are still free to travel to France.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has warned that may change. ”We will find it hard to accept on our territory British citizens who move freely in their own country and then come to France," he said on Wednesday.

Turkey will close borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Credit: AP

Turkey has announce it is closing its borders with Greece and Bulgaria.

This has been fairly common now across the continent, but is significant here because it effectively ends the refugee crisis on Greece’s borders that was dominating the news just a couple of weeks ago.

Up to 58 million Germans may get coronavirus, Angela Merkel said. Credit: AP

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that China will supply two million surgical masks and 50,000 testing kits.

Germany's Angela Merkel has warned that as many as 58 million Germans may contract the the virus. “We must assume that 60-70% of the population will become infected”, she said.

And finally, the Eurovision song contest has fallen victim to Covid-19.

For the first time in its 64 year history, it will not happen this year.