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Coronavirus: 'When EU commissioner says don't panic, what is she talking about!'

27 February 2020 12:54 PM
Tags:
European Union
Germany
Coronavirus
spread of coronavirus
COVID-19
coronavirus spread in Europe
Deutsche Welle's Isaac Mugabi has the lowdown on how people on the ground are experiencing the spread of the virus in Europe.

The number of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections now tops 400 in Italy, as the outbreak continues its march across the globe.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said for the first time that the virus is spreading faster outside China, where it started.

Although the vast majority of the 80,000 people now infected worldwide remain those in China, around 40 countries have reported cases.

RELATED: How far has the coronavirus spread? This live dashboard tracks cases worldwide

In Germany, at least two out of a suspected 21 cases have tested positive for the virus.

Kieno Kammies speaks to editor at Deutsche Welle's Africa service, Isaac Mugabi, about how concerned Europe should be.

I understand why Italians should be more concerned than anybody else. Some villages are under lockdown and the implications it's going to have are enormous, not just in terms of health and security but also the economic impact if borders are closed.

Isaac Mugabi, Editor - Deutsche Welle Africa

Something that people have to be aware of is that the virus has the potential to disrupt production chains. At the moment we are facing a global economy that is not doing well - trade has been on the decline since 2019 and just recovering and all of a sudden, boom!, the virus starts crossing borders.

Isaac Mugabi, Editor - Deutsche Welle Africa

European Union (EU) Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said after a meeting with the Italian health minister in Rome that the situation is one of concern, but Europe "must not give in to panic".

Mugabi says his own readings on the ground tell a different story.

Politicians never mean what they say and they never say what they mean. They tend to downplay or sugarcoat things in hard times...

Isaac Mugabi, Editor - Deutsche Welle Africa

He says some residents have been in a state of panic for days:

I have to be honest; we did go to the shops to start stocking up so we are preparing a bit. We are now going to wait for the weekend and see if it gets worse and more people get it.

North Rhine-Westphalia resident

Mugabi notes that in Germany it's carnival season, with revellers frequenting crowded bars, kissing and hugging complete strangers in the spirit of prevailing bonhomie.

It's also winter... It helps the virus to spread... That's why authorities here in Germany have been calling on people who attended parades, to get tested.

Isaac Mugabi, Editor - Deutsche Welle Africa

Now, when an EU commissioner says there's no need to panic, I don't know what they're talking about.

Isaac Mugabi, Editor - Deutsche Welle Africa

Listen to the conversation on Today with Kieno Kammies:


27 February 2020 12:54 PM
Tags:
European Union
Germany
Coronavirus
spread of coronavirus
COVID-19
coronavirus spread in Europe

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