With the coronavirus showing signs of weakening in Asia, the United States and Europe are gearing up their efforts to contain the disease as the number of cases in the regions skyrockets.
While European governments have shut down their borders and restricted movement, the US declared a national emergency and introduced a coronavirus aid package – worth $50 billion – to provide free testing and paid sick leaves to citizens.
Thousands of schools in over a dozen states, including Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Mexico and Michigan, are set to close as governors ordered state-wide shutdowns.
Earlier, the US banned travel from 26 European countries, which went into effect yesterday. As of yesterday morning, the country had at least 2,195 infected people in all but one of its states and at least 49 deaths, according to The New York Times.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday declared Europe as the new epicentre of coronavirus, saying more cases were being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.
In response to the crisis, Spain announced a "state of alert" through which it will be able to limit movement, order evacuations, prohibit access to certain places and intervene in industry for up to 15 days. Cases in Spain have risen by 1,500 in a day to more than 5,700, making it the country with the fastest growing epidemic in Europe.
In the rest of Europe, at least 10 other countries have enforced border closures, including Denmark, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland, reports CNN.
Belgium, France, Switzerland and parts of Germany have closed schools and imposed widespread curbs on large gatherings and taken measures to close theatres, restaurants and bars. Britain is set to introduce emergency laws next week to ban mass gatherings, reports Reuters.
But so far, none of the measures have matched those in China, which included rapidly expanding testing capacity of laboratories and placing patients with milder symptoms in temporary isolation facilities set up in gymnasiums and event halls to relieve pressure on hospitals.
In Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, all three governments reduced arrival of new cases into the communities through travel restrictions, prevented possible transmission through quarantines, and suppressed silent transmission in the community by reducing contact between individuals.
These measures seem to have turned the tables in Asia.
Shifting from quarantining travellers from abroad and apprehending those entering with fevers, China and other parts of Asia are now scrambling to prevent the coronavirus from coming back to where it first broke out.
South Korea has gone from complaining about global restrictions on visitors coming from the country to stepping up border controls in a bid to prevent the virus from being reintroduced by travellers from overseas, according to Time magazine.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday disregarded the need for a state of emergency as the infection rate in the country remains lower than other major nations which currently has 1,421 infected people. Japan is set to increase virus-testing capacity to about 8,000 a day by the end of the month from the current 6,000.
Neighbouring India reported 82 cases yesterday, with two deaths. The Indian government declared "a notified disaster" in the country which will allow for the use of the State Disaster Response Fund to combat the pandemic.
In Bangladesh, all three of the coronavirus victims have recovered. The country has asked all citizens returning from abroad to put themselves in self-quarantine for two weeks.
In Africa, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries. Both Rwanda and Namibia reported their first cases yesterday. Prevention and control measures have been put into effect across the continent amid fears that a wider outbreak could place an unbearable strain on local health services, reports BBC.
But for now, Europe is where the battle rages on in full force.