The coronavirus has caused the European Parliament to be shutdown.
Yesterday, the World Health Organisation declared the global coronavirus crisis a pandemic but also said it is not too late for countries to act.
By reversing course and using the charged word “pandemic” that it had previously shied away from, the UN health agency appeared to want to shock lethargic countries into pulling out all the stops.
“We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief.
“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise their people in the response,” he said.
“We are deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.”
The European Parliament plenary session that was originally scheduled for Strasbourg this week was shifted to Brussels and then cut short.
Next week’s committee meetings have now been cancelled.
Most of the staff are expected to work from home leaving the corridors eerily quiet as Green Party MEP, Grace O'Sullivan, explained.
Ms O'Sullivan said: "Normally the walkways here, the plenary, the meeting rooms would be absolutely chock-a-block, you'd see people running about the place.
"We're not seeing that now, we're not seeing it in the airports, we're not seeing it generally because people are taking their own initiative to work from home.
"Next week there will be no committee meetings face-to-face so we know next week it will be tele-conferencing but t here will be decisions that need to be taken."