Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives, commenting "Do not just let this fire burn."

The comments arose after many European countries reported a rapid increase in infections and deaths, with Italy still recording its highest daily toll yet. There were 250 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections overall.

Also, Spain is the second worst-affected European country after Italy, reporting a 50% rise in atalities to 120 on Friday, March 13, while infections increased to 4,231.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has created a live, interactive map, which depicts in real time, the spread of the virus.