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Coronavirus in Belgium: don’t panic, but stay vigilant

© Belga

“There is no reason to yield to panic,” even if there is still need for vigilance, Health Minister Maggie De Block said on Thursday on arriving at an extraordinary EU Council meeting on the Coronavirus.

Noting that 40 persons are currently infected by the virus in Europe, including one in Belgium,” De Block indicated that “the situation naturally needs to be closely monitored.”

Asked whether additional measures were required, the Belgian minister said “World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations are being followed” and “it is necessary, about all, for member States to adopt the same measures.”

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The aim of Thursday’s meeting was to improve information sharing among the countries of the Union and provide correct information to travellers going to Europe, according to Croatian Health Minister Vili Beroš, chair of the meeting. European countries also want to make sure they have enough medical supplies available to fight the Covid-19 novel Coronavirus, he said.

The European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, said that while there was a limited risk of contamination in Europe, member countries still had to prepare for all scenarios.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides stressed that member states needed to step up their efforts, increase hospitals’ admission capacity and enhance their detection and protection resources against the virus. However, in practice, the EU’s capacity for action is limited since this is the purview of the member states.

Meanwhile, Maggie De Block stressed on Thursday that the racist remarks against people of Asian origin that have been flooding social media were unacceptable.

The Brussels Times