European governments are 'well behind' in the fight against coronavirus, senior ...

European governments are 'well behind' in the fight against coronavirus and the continent is becoming an epicentre for the disease, a senior medic at the World Health Organisation has warned.

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said on Monday that much more comprehensive measures will be needed if Europe is to get on top of the virus.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Ryan said: 'There's no question that the European region is an epicentre for disease right now.

European governments are 'well behind' in the fight against coronavirus and the continent is becoming an epicentre for the disease, a senior medic at the World Health Organisation has warned. Pictured: German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels last week

European governments are 'well behind' in the fight against coronavirus and the continent is becoming an epicentre for the disease, a senior medic at the World Health Organisation has warned. Pictured: German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels last week

'Right now we are well behind this virus in Europe so getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in what we do and maybe much more comprehensive nature of measures that are going to be needed.'

His comments came as deaths from coronavirus in Europe neared 210,000 on Monday, with 209,542 recorded fatalities.  

He said that if European countries imposed much tougher measures, it should be possible to stay ahead of transmission rates as long as thorough public health surveillance is in place.

Dr Ryan urged governments not to 'squander' the opportunity presented by further lockdowns, and to support their citizens in doing the right thing.

He also warned that the free movement of people within the EU was going to present a huge challenge as the transmission rate gathers pace, and might have to be suspended in a bid to get the virus under control.

'Europe has spent 50 to 70 years trying to break down barriers and break down walls - it's not an easy thing to build a coherent response across so many countries with so many different approaches, with so many land borders,' he said.

'There's a lot of free movement, on those principles it may require shutting down and restricting movement and having stay-at-home orders in order to take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic.'

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said on Monday that much more comprehensive measures will be needed if Europe is to get on top of the virus

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said on Monday that much more comprehensive measures will be needed if Europe

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