EU scrambling to contain COVID-19, calls for coordinated response

EU scrambling to contain COVID-19, calls for coordinated response

European Union countries should coordinate their responses to the outbreak of the coronavirus to avoid diverging approaches, the EU’s Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told reporters.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Rome with the health minister of Italy, where there has been a sharp increase in the number of infections with the virus causing flu-like symptoms, Kyriakides said countries should not give in to panic and the EU would produce a template for informing travelers on the virus.

“All member states need to inform us of their preparedness plans,” she said. “Diverging approaches across the EU should be avoided,” she said, adding the EU executive was ready to coordinate responses.

Kyriakides noted that “wihin the EU, we are still in the process of containing COVID-19, which is highly important. But, given the speed with which the situation may change, the Public Health Services of Member-States must be ready for any scenario.”

She added that the European Commission has asked Member-States to examine the protocols they currently have in effect to tackle pandemics, the ability of their healthcare systems to swiftly diagnose the new coronavirus, and their ability to trace persons who have come in contact with carriers of COVID-19.

“The situation is worrying, but there is no need for panic,” Kyriakides stressed.

"We need to maintain the right levels of vigilance in matters of misinformation and inadequate information, as well as xenophobic statements that mislead citizens and call into question the work of public authorities."

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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