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GOVT OFFICIAL: EU PROPOSES COOPERATION TO PREVENT SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS

 

The member states of the European Union, including Hungary, propose strong cooperation to prevent a coronavirus epidemic, a Hungarian government official said. Speaking after a meeting of EU health-care ministers, deputy state secretary Szabolcs Szigeti said the EU called for “active, evidence-based cooperation employing proportionate measures”. The meeting also stressed the importance of aid to “nations where the health-care system is less prepared” to cope with the virus, he said. The coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has so far claimed the lives of over 1,000 patients worldwide, although “seemingly manageable”, presents the “risk of an epidemic constituting a global danger”, Szigeti said. Szigeti praised the efficiency of international organisations and the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism which helped, among others, the Hungarians in Hubei province to travel home. The EU member states are conducting research into the virus, Szigeti said. They have also pledged to focus on providing information for travellers, the centralised procurement of protective masks, medicine and diagnostic equipment, ensuring the safety of health-care workers and border control and protection, he added.