The European Commission announced on Monday that it had raised an additional EUR 230 million to contribute to the international fight against the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, which first appeared in December in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to about thirty countries, including nine European countries.
The earmarked budget will be used as follows: “€114 million for WHO as part of its appeal for global readiness; 15 million for partner countries in Africa in order to strengthen their resilience and preparatory plans; 100 million will fund research on vaccines and treatments, 45 of which are a contribution to the pharma industry. Finally, 3 million will support Member States in their efforts to provide China with protective gear and to repatriate citizens,” Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management said.
As for travel advice, “it remains within the jurisdiction of the Member States,” the Commissioner said to reporters.
It would also be up to Member States to decide on a possible return of border controls within Schengen, but as of now, the EU Commission is not particularly keen on it, the Slovenian Commissioner stressed.
It is essential to prioritize measures “that are proportional and based on a credible and scientific risk assessment,” he added.
While the main EU priority is to stem the spread of the virus, “we should not panic,” Commissioner of Health, Stella Kyriakides stated.
Since 31 December, 78,833 cases of the Covid-19 infection have been reported worldwide, according to the latest report of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). 2,463 people have died, with 8 deaths so far in Europe (7 in Italy, 1 in France).
It is the swift evolution in recent days of the virus in Italy (224 cases on Monday that has been especially worrying.
Kyriakides commended the “fast and efficient” action of the Italian authorities, who assured Brussels that they have taken adequate measures to trace the contacts of the affected people and control the spread of Covid-19.
A team from the WHO and ECDC will be sent to Italy on Tuesday.