EU health ministers urge member states to step up co-operation against new coronavirus

European Union health ministers held a special meeting on February 13 for an exchange of views on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a statement said.

The health ministers adopted a number of conclusions, including welcoming what the statement called “the EU’s effective response to the challenges arising from the outbreak of Novel coronavirus” and urging EU countries to take the necessary measures to enhance their co-operation.

They also called on the European Commission to examine ways of facilitating member states’ access to personal protective equipment and to evaluate the consequences of global health threats for the availability of medicines within the EU.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in an update on the situation worldwide as of 9am Eastern European Time on February 13 that there had been 60 330 reported cases of new coronavirus. A total of 1369 people had died.

There were 44 cases in the EU/EEA and UK, the ECDC said.

This included 16 cases in Germany (two imported, 14 locally-acquired), 11 cases in France (six imported, five locally-acquired), nine cases in the United Kingdom (eight imported, one locally-acquired), three cases in Italy (three imported), two cases in Spain (two imported), one case in Belgium (imported), one case in Finland (imported), and one case in Sweden (imported).

The ECDC said that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection for the EU/EEA and UK population in Europe is currently low.

This assessment was based on two factors, it said.

While there have been both imported and locally acquired cases reported from seven EU/EEA countries and from the UK, the overall number of cases reported in the area remains low, and containment measures are in place. There are, however, uncertainties regarding transmissibility and under-detection, particularly among mild or asymptomatic cases.

If an infection is acquired, the impact for the infected person is considered high. For the population, the impact of one or more infections resulting in sustained transmission would be moderate to high. Information on case severity and the effectiveness of control measures remains very limited.



The Sofia Globe staff

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