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Europe seeks better coordination on coronavirus response

Agence France-Presse

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — European Union nations will on Thursday discuss ways to increase cooperation in a bid to tackle the threat posed by the coronavirus which has killed over 1,100 people in China and spread to several EU member states.

The plans are included in a text drawn up in Brussels on Wednesday on the eve of a meeting of EU health ministers to discuss measures to stem the spread of the virus.

“The effectiveness of national measures taken at EU borders and points of entry to protect public health… can be further enhanced” through strengthening coordination between member states and the EU Commission, says the draft text seen by AFP.

EU members should “act together” in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, in particular “on surveillance, risk assessment, risk management and countermeasures” to the deadly virus.

The draft statement stresses the importance of sharing of information “in a proportionate and appropriate manner” on “persons at increased risk of carrying the 2019-nCoV virus” while ensuring free movement within the European Union.

This would include “information to international travellers, arriving, or in transit from affected areas” and ensuring that such persons are “possible to trace,” according to the draft text.

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