This is the time for facts, not fear, European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on February 3 after meeting the head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for an update on the coronavirus situation.
“The number of cases in the EU so far remains low and member states overall have strong health systems and preparedness plans. We stand ready to support the global efforts to tackle the outbreak at its source and contain the spread,” Kyriakides said.
After meeting ECDC director Dr Andrea Ammon, Kyriakides said: “We will continue to ensure the best possible level of preparedness and coordination of actions and support to member states”.
Separately, the European Commission said on February 3 that it was working on all fronts to support efforts to fight the coronavirus, helping member states to repatriate their citizens and providing emergency services to the Chinese authorities.
The first repatriations by air to France and Germany, co-financed by the EU civil protection mechanism, concerned 447 European citizens departing from Wuhan this past weekend.
In addition, the EU helped facilitate the delivery of 12 tons of personal protective equipment to China.
Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “I would like to thank France and Germany for helping to bring hundreds of citizens from EU member states home safely. It is a success of our common European civil protection efforts.
“We are also working 24/7 to help the Chinese authorities provide protective equipment. The first supplies have already arrived in China this weekend. Additional EU aid is on the way.”
The EU Emergency Response Coordination Center is coordinating EU assistance. The EU has also set aside 10 million euro for research into vaccines.
In an update as of 10am Bulgarian time on February 3, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that worldwide there were 17 383 lab-confirmed cases of new coronavirus. There had been 362 deaths, one outside China, in the Philippines. Twenty-five cases had been reported in Europe, the centre said.