NEWS

Premier urges joint SARS front

European Union members must unite to address the threat of severe acute respiratory disease (SARS) Prime Minister Costas Simitis told EU parliamentarians in Athens yesterday, on the eve of today’s emergency meeting of health ministers in Brussels. «If this epidemic comes to Athens, it can also affect London as the movement of people in Europe is unrestricted,» Simitis told members of European Affairs parliamentary committees from EU states. «It is therefore impossible for each of the 10 or 25 (EU) states to cope with the problem on their own. Coordination and a joint response are needed.» Today, Health Minister Costas Stefanis will chair a meeting on SARS with his EU colleagues in Brussels. Meanwhile, the Merchant Marine Ministry said that, according to Piraeus health officials, a Filipino seaman who died on a Greek freighter off Salamis yesterday after running a high fever on a voyage from Morocco did not appear to have contracted SARS. However, the Eugenia C has been quarantined, while an autopsy will be performed on the body of Renato Tibar, 36.