The president of European Commission said Tuesday that Europe underestimated the coronavirus. 

Ursula von der Leyen told the Bild newspaper in Germany, measures against the virus that used to sound draconian to the ears weeks ago, right now has become measures that must be taken.

“I think we all, who are not experts, initially underestimated the coronavirus. But in the meantime it has also become clear that this is a virus that will keep us busy for a long time,” she said, adding it is important to respect curfew declarations by some EU members.

French President Emmanual Macron described the fight against the virus as a “war,” but von der Leyen said, “I personally would not use the word, but I understand the motivation of the French president. Because the coronavirus is an uncanny opponent. We don't see it, it has no color, it doesn't taste. However, we notice that it is spreading at a frantic pace.”

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 163 countries and territories. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

Out of over 197,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 7,900, while more than 81,000 patients have recovered, according to Worldometer, a website that compiles new case numbers.

The current number of active cases is more than 107,000 -- 93% mild and 7% in critical condition, according to the website.

The WHO has declared Europe the new epicenter of the virus.