The European Centre for Disease Control has raised the risk of contagion in the European Union (EU) of the coronavirus to ‘moderate’, keeping an eye out for new developments, notably after the Chinese New Year celebrations.

“The ECDC is monitoring the situation and conducting rapid risk assessments, having verified in the most recent one, made on Wednesday, that there is a ‘moderate’ probability there are cases in the EU in the European Economic Area “, according to the Community executive in a written reply sent to the Lusa news agency.

This represents a “small increase” compared to the risk assessment made by ECDC last week and follows the “confirmation of human-to-human transmission”, said the community executive.

The virus has killed 18 people in China, with 633 affected with 95 in serious condition.


Chinese authorities have imposed lockdown measures on five cities in an unprecedented effort to contain the outbreak during the busy lunar new year travel period.

Authorities banned transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Thursday morning, suspending buses, subways, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. Later in the day, the nearby central Chinese cities of Huanggang and Ezhou announced similar measures. Travel restrictions were also placed on the smaller cities of Chibi and Zhijiang.

Starting at midnight, long-distance buses, the rapid transit system, and train station in Huanggang would be shut, according to a notice from the local government. Cinemas, internet cafes, and other entertainment venues would all stop operating. Residents should not leave the city, except for “special reasons”.


The European Commission further states that, together with ECDC, it is making “efforts to support the carrying out of reports and rapid surveillance actions, should a case be detected in the EU”.

“As the situation evolves, the Commission and the Member States will continue to coordinate to ensure an optimal and aligned response across the EU,” says Brussels.

It is a new type of coronavirus, which is transmitted between animals and passed to humans, with records of transmission from person to person, but still in circumstances that are not fully substantiated.

The symptoms of these coronaviruses are more intense than the flu and include fever, pain, malaise and breathing difficulties, including shortness of breath.