EU Sees 33 Coronavirus Cases So Far, European Crisis Center at Full Capacity
Some 500 EU citizens, who have returned from China, remain under quarantine.
A total of 33 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the countries of the European Union so far, with the Stockholm-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control operating at full capacity, according to the European Commission, the EU executive.
Because of the low total number of EU citizens infected with coronavirus, the ECDC, which constantly monitors the situation with the epidemic, deems the coronavirus threat to be “very low”, DW reports.
The 33 cases of coronavirus infections have been registered in a total of 6 EU countries, with the bulk being in Germany (14 cases) and France (11 cases).
This is against the backdrop of more than 40,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 1,100 deaths from the virus globally.
Janez Lenarcic, the EU’s crisis management commissioner, however, warned that the epidemic had not peaked.
About 500 citizens of EU countries have been flown out of China and remain under quarantine at their homes.
According to the EU Commissioner, the decision to limit flights from China and Southeast Asia remains up to individual member states. Italy is the only EU member state so far to have stopped all flights to and from China.
So far, a number of major EU airline companies have reduced or suspended their flights to China: Germany’s Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Finnair, SAS and Iberia have reduced or suspended flights to China through March. Italy’s government has stopped flights to from and to China.
The ECDC in Stockholm coordinates measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic among all EU member states as well as its partners and neighbors – such as Norway, Iceland, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Turkey.
In the event that one of the EU or partner countries is unable to cope with the situation, the crisis center would facilitate the organized assistance from other states.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has pledged to invest EUR 10 million (USD10.9 million) to efforts to develop a vaccine.
“So far, the coronavirus has spread exponentially — though we are slowly seeing the infection rate stabilizing,” Christian Iacob, a civil servant monitoring transmissions of the coronavirus at the ECDC, is quoted ass saying.
“So far, cooperation with China has been smooth. They tell us what they need, and we check which member state can provide that,” he explained.
China has requested additional humanitarian goods and medical supplies from the European Union, with the EC saying that face masks, protective gloves and clothing will soon be delivered to China. Germany and France have already delivered protective gear to China.
“Ever since the virus outbreak became known to the international community, cooperation between the European Commission and China has been good,” EU Commissioner Lenarcic said.
In his words, in addition to public health, another concern was that the coronavirus epidemic could disrupt China’s manufacturing sector and therefore have a negative impact global supply chains and the world economy.
(Banner image: ECDC)