European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will hold a video conference with G7 leaders this afternoon amid continuing turmoil over the coronavirus, with Europe now the declared epicentre of the pandemic.

EU health and interior ministers have also been speaking by video conference amid moves to coordinate the procurement of extra medical equipment, how health checks might be managed at the EU's internal borders and to tighten the export of safety equipment for health professionals beyond the EU.

Ms Von der Leyen will also speak by phone to the German vaccine company CureVac this afternoon, following reports that US President Donald Trump was attempting to lure the company to produce a coronavirus vaccine for the US only.

A commission spokesman said the phone call was "to ensure the company can continue to operate and do its research in Europe".

European Council President Charles Michel has called a video conference of EU leaders for tomorrow.

"Containing the spread of the virus, providing sufficient medical equipment, boosting research and limiting the economic fallout is key," he said on Twitter.

This morning, the European Commission said that since every EU member state was affected by the pandemic then closing EU borders was "not necessarily" the best way to further contain the outbreak.

Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said it was the member states' responsibility to safeguard the health of their citizens.

However, the EU needed to ensure that the single market continued to function.

"The issue is how to ensure we can continue to meet the twin objectives: to ensure hospitals, healthcare systems, patients receive the support they need, and to keep goods flowing through the market, which is required for our economy to function," he told a midday briefing.

Amid concerns over member states taking a beggar-thy-neighbour approach, the commission said the German government had confirmed it would send one million masks to Italy.

The commission has also issued guidelines for countries on how to best manage their borders during the crisis.

Those identified as at risk of spreading Covid-19 should have access to appropriate health care, either in the country of arrival or in the country of departure, and this should be coordinated between the two, the guidelines suggest.

The recommendations say providing health checks for those entering the country should be possible without "formal introduction of internal border controls".

Those arriving sick should not be denied entry, but should be given access to healthcare, the guidelines state.

The commission said member states can reintroduce border controls for reasons of public health in extreme cases, but they should be organised in such a way as to avoid the emergence of large queues, "which risk increasing the spread of the virus".

Meanwhile, Hungary announced it would close its borders for international passengers, close cultural and sports events and establishments and limit the opening hours of restaurants.

All shops will be shut except food stores, pharmacies and drug stores, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the Hungarian Parliament, asking those over 70 to stay at home and all events to be cancelled except for family gatherings.

The European Commission also said some 20 member states - including Ireland - had responded to a joint procurement tender to provide medical equipment including ventilators.

However, they have caused huge queues in some instances, and prompted EC president Ursula von der Leyen yesterday to warn that shops could face difficulties in stocking supplies that are produced elsewhere in the single market.

The Commission will today issue guidelines as to what health checks member states could operate at their borders. The EC will also launch an initiative to jointly procure with member states testing kits and respiratory ventilators so that countries within the EU hardest hit will be able to get the equipment needed.

At the same time, the Commission last night adopted an emergency measure that would have the effect of restricting the sale outside the EU of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.