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World

EU 24. 02. 2020.   >>  17:39 0

EU

Another €232 million to stop global coronavirus outbreak

The European Union is monitoring the spread of the coronavirus “around the clock” and announced €232 million to prevent a global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus on Monday.

South Korea and Iran reported sharp rises in coronavirus infections on Monday, triggering concern from the World Health Organization (WHO), but China relaxed some curbs on movement, including in Beijing, as the rate of new infections there eased.

The virus has put Chinese cities into lockdown, disrupted air traffic to the country and blocked global supply chains for everything from cars and car parts to smartphones.

“There should be no doubt left – this is a global challenge. It requires the co-operation of the entire international community,” said EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic. “Our goal is to contain the outbreak at a global level.”

“With more than 2,600 lives lost already and the epidemics affecting already 28 countries worldwide, the spread of Covid-19 demands our full attention. It is the time for us to act as a Union,” he added.

It comes as confirmed cases of the virus rose to 150 in Italy over the weekend, forcing authorities to temporarily close a train route between Italy and Austria, putting the bloc’s Schengen area of free movement under strain.

The number of cases in Italy rose above 200 on Monday and a sixth person died from the virus.

The virus threatens to affect upcoming EU events, with a planned EU-China summit in Beijing under question. The EU Commission has limited staff travel to essential trips only, and employees returning from Macau, Hong Kong and China have the option to work from home for 14 days.

The EU Commission is not currently advising the closure of national borders, but has urged member states to coordinate and react proportionally according to scientific evidence.

The aid package of €232 million is divided between €114 million to the World Health Organization, a planned €15 million for efforts to combat the virus in Africa, €100 million for research and €3 million for the repatriation of EU citizens from the epicentre of the virus in Wuhan, China.

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