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EU representatives have been working to “establish an expert information exchange protocol” and held its first video conference with Chinese experts on Wednesday, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said…reports Asian Lite News

BRUSSELS, Jan. 24, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) attend a meeting of the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 23, 2020. Constitutional Affairs Committee MEPs voted in favour of a positive recommendation regarding the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, with 23 votes for, three against and no abstentions. It means Britain's Brexit withdrawal bill will head to a vote for all MEPs next week during a plenary session. (Xinhua/Zhang Cheng/IANS) by .
European Parliament (Xinhua/Zhang Cheng/IANS)

The European Union (EU) held an emergency meeting to discuss how to cope with the coronavirus epidemic and prevent an outbreak and spread in Europe.

In the meeting on Thursday, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides warned ministers at the event in Brussels that “viruses know no borders.”

“This outbreak highlights the urgent need for close cooperation and coordination across Europe and beyond,” she added.

She said coordination within the EU was vital in fighting the virus, including sharing information and cooperation between countries.

“We are determined to ensure an effective, coherent EU-level response,” she said, adding: “We need to be united in our response – coherent and coordinated with each other.”

Kyriakides said there needs to be uniform border controls at airports for flights coming from China, where 99 per cent of cases have been reported.

There have been 50 confirmed coronavirus cases in 11 European countries, with Germany, France and the UK particularly affected.

Brussels has ruled out imposing borders within the Schengen area, with Kyriakides saying: “Freedom of movement in the EU needs to be safeguarded.”

EU representatives have been working to “establish an expert information exchange protocol” and held its first video conference with Chinese experts on Wednesday, she added.

Medical team members board the flight to Hubei Province at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Jiang Wenyao/IANS)

Health ministers from the EU’s 27 member countries shared updates on the situation in their respective nations and the steps being taken to combat the outbreak.

As of Friday, the overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus increased to 1,380, with 63,851 confirmed cases, authorities said.

Outside China, there has been three deaths — Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan, with 447 cases in 24 countries, according to Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies programme.

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