- Published: 13.02.2020.
EU has to coordinate activities in combating novel coronavirus
EU member states have to act in coordination in order to effectively oppose the novel coronavirus from spreading, it was heard on Thursday ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU health ministers, convened by Croatia's EU presidency.
"Following last week's video conference, we decided to convene an extraordinary meeting. Cooperation and coordinated action are very important in preventing the epidemic," Croatia's Health Minister Vili Beros said.
Beros said it was important to secure sufficient quantities of medicines and ensure that they were accessible.
"All the measures taken so far are appropriate and we have to monitor the situation and consult with international organisations on a daily basis and be prepared to respond," said Beros.
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said that she supported the decision by Croatia's presidency to convene the extraordinary meeting.
"Viruses know no borders so we need to act together at EU level," Kyriakides tweeted earlier in the day.
The level of preparedness and coordination will be tested today. We have to be cautious even though the numbers of those infected in Europe are very low, said Kyriakides.
Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic also tweeted: "In this situation, we have to act as a union. It is obvious that any measures taken are much more effective if they're taken in a coordinated, aligned manner."
The European Commission has mobilised all its agencies, notably the the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the fight against the novel coronavirus and is closely cooperating with EU member states and non-EU countries, including China, European Commissioner for Gender Equality Helena Dalli said on Wednesday.
Addressing a plenary session of the European Parliament late on Wednesday, Dalli opened a debate on a coordinated European response to the epidemic of the virus which as of last night is dubbed COVID-19.
The number of fatalities in China's Hubei Province on Thursday jumped by a record 242, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,310, and there has been a sudden surge in the number of new cases after new diagnostic methods were introduced.
The number of people affected by the disease has jumped from 1,4840 to 48,206 in the past 24 hours.