As the virus spreads across Europe, many countries are stepping up their response. France reported the biggest jump in new cases outside Italy with close to 1,000. The country already declared its highest alert level on Friday. The Netherlands has become the latest European country to impose a lockdown, after its cases hit more than 1,000. Schools, bars and restaurants are now all closed. Germany is also closing schools and nurseries starting this week and imposing border controls with most of its neighbors. And Austria has ordered a ban on gatherings of more than five people.
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In This Story: Austria
It is bordered by Germany to the northwest; the Czech Republic to the north; Slovakia to the northeast; Hungary to the east; Slovenia and Italy to the south; and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people. While German is the country’s official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.
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In This Story: France
France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.
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In This Story: Germany
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. With over 83 million inhabitants of its 16 constituent states, it is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Berlin, and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.
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In This Story: Italy
The capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.