"There is no reason to panic, but we must take the situation seriously and monitor it closely", said MEP Dr. med. Peter Liese, health spokesperson of the largest group in the European Parliament (EPP), in view of the spread of the new coronavirus from the Wuhan region in China. According to Liese's assessment, the danger to EU citizens is very low. "Firstly, there are only three direct flights from the crisis region to the EU. Secondly, according to the scientists, the virus is much less dangerous than the SARS virus, which caused many deaths a few years ago. Furthermore, within the European Union, we are now better prepared, since a coordination mechanism between the Member States was agreed upon a few years ago. There is a 24-hour on-call duty in all Member States and the European Health Office ECDC in Helsinki is monitoring the situation very closely. We have uniform recommendations for the entire European Union. A few years ago, it was still the case that something was dealt with completely different in the Netherlands compared to Germany, for example. If you take into account that passengers in border regions often use airports in neighbouring countries, it used to be an absurd situation," says Liese. The Christian Democrats have requested that the European Parliament's Committee on Environment and Health will deal intensively with the issue as early as next week.
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