Question for written answer to the European Commission on Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak

An outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China has infected hundreds if not thousands of people since December 2019. Chinese authorities have confirmed that 17 people have died from the respiratory virus and that the disease can be transmitted from human to human.

Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

The upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations at the end of January could increase the likelihood of its spread to the EU.

Nevertheless, on 20 January 2020, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) stated that it considered that the likelihood of the virus being introduced to the EU was ‘low’, while, on 21 January, the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-)emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) activated Mode 1 of its outbreak response.

On 22 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that it could not yet declare the 2019-nCoV a public health emergency of international concern.

1 What concrete steps are the Commission and PREPARE taking to respond in the event of a 2019-nCoV outbreak in Europe?

2 How long will it take PREPARE to escalate to Mode 2 or Mode 3 bearing in mind that to do so it needs the prior approval of its General Assembly and the Commission?

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