The Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Romania all reported infections for the first time, joining Italy, Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, North Macedonia, Spain, Sweden and Britain.
Italian officials reported 650 cases as of Thursday night — up from 400 a day earlier — with 17 deaths. The number of infections had doubled in just two days, as Italy grapples with the largest outbreak outside of Asia, centered in the northern region of Lombardy.
Whole towns have been isolated, and Lombardy’s governor, Attilio Fontana, started a period of self-isolation after a co-worker tested positive.
Most other affected European nations have just a handful of cases, but national leaders say that these early days will prove crucial.
“We have before us a crisis, an epidemic that is coming, we know that certain countries are already much more affected than us,” President Emmanuel Macron of France said during a visit to the Paris hospital where a coronavirus patient died this week. “We are going to have to confront it as best we can, even as life goes on.”
Hours later, officials in France reported that the number of cases there had jumped to 38, from 18 a day earlier.
In Spain, where there are 17 cases, the latest patient, announced Thursday, was a soccer fan from Valencia — one of thousands who had traveled to Milan, the capital of Lombardy, earlier this month to watch a Champions League match.