The global COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Europe with its first confirmed case in Bordeaux, France, on 24 January 2020, and subsequently spread widely across the continent. By 17 March 2020, every country in Europe had confirmed a case, and all have reported at least one death, with the exception of Vatican City. Italy was the first European nation to experience a major outbreak in early 2020, becoming the first country worldwide to introduce a national lockdown. By 13 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe the epicentre of the pandemic and it remained so until the WHO announced it has been overtaken by South America on 22 May. By 18 March 2020, more than 250 million people were in lockdown in Europe. Despite deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, Europe became the pandemic's epicentre once again in late 2021.As the outbreak became a major crisis across Europe, national and European Union responses have led to debate over restrictions of civil liberties and the extent of European Union solidarity. In January 2022, it was announced by WHO that half of the Europeans will have caught the Omicron variant.