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EU leaders try to strengthen their response to the coronavirus

The rapid spread of coronavirus in Europe demands aggressive containment measures, especially in countries that have so far registered few cases, to prevent it from continuing to expand without limit across the continent. It is the message of urgency which the Health Commissioner moved on Tuesday, Stella Kyriakides, before the extraordinary summit of EU heads of state and government convened for this afternoon by the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and that will take place by videoconference.

A “monographic” appointment to address exclusively the coronavirus epidemic in which the president of the European Commission will also participate, Ursula von der Leyen, and that of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde. On the table, three elements: the information exchange and coordination between member states to contain the spread of the virus, the search for new vaccines and treatments against disease and possible economic measures to deal with the impact of the epidemic like the flexibilization of public deficit rules and a relaxation of public aid rules. “We need to cooperate to protect our citizens,” insists Michel.

As the director of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), Andrea Ammon, said last Friday during the extraordinary council of health ministers, the next “days and weeks” will be “crucial.” The virus continues to spread with enormous speed and, although the size is different from one country to another, “the situation changes rapidly exponentially every hour” and “the days and weeks to come will be crucial,” Kyriakides reiterated Tuesday, which has warned governments that ” Aggressively contain “the spread of the coronavirus, especially in countries with few cases, should be a priority.

“You have to close rows”

“The highest priority must be containment to save time and that health systems can respond appropriately,” Kyriakides explained to the Eurocamara. The head of health of the Community Executive has also warned the Twenty-seven that “we can not continue as before” and “act routinely in an exceptional situation” and has pointed out that all member states must be prepared because positive cases by coronaviruses already affect all member countries.

According to him ECDC’s latest balance until March 10, 14,980 positive cases have been counted in the EU, the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom, of which 9,172 in Italy while there are already three countries – France, Spain and Germany – that exceed a thousand cases. The death toll in the meantime has increased to 532 people, 464 of them in Italy, 30 in France and 28 in Spain.

“We are all under pressure and everyone can act in their own way but do not get carried away by that impulse. It is not time to give a fragmented response, on the contrary we have to close ranks,” he has claimed a few hours before the start of the extraordinary summit of EU leaders, convened to take stock of the measures taken by each country, continue to coordinate and study possible new measures such as travel restrictions.

Flight Restrictions

Some governments like that of IrelandFor example, they have updated their recommendations and recommend their citizens not to travel to Italy. So far they have adopted restrictive measures but their Irish Prime Minister, Leo VaradkarHe intends to put this matter on the leaders’ table at the summit this afternoon. Others like Romania have not waited. On February 24, they imposed mandatory quarantine on all travelers from Italy and since Monday they have suspended flights from Italy.

They have joined them this Tuesday Austria has announced limitations on the entry of travelers from the Italian Republic so that they either commit to remain the 14 days established by the isolated protocol or present a health certificate. In addition, companies such as British Airways They have announced the cancellation on Tuesday of all flights to the most affected country in the EU while about thirty flights with origin or destination Italy have been canceled in Brussels. Too Ryanair, according to Irish readiotelevision, has announced that it suspends its flights to and from Italy, as well as internal flights, until April 8.


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