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Health minister: coronavirus likely to hit Poland sooner rather than later

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters

Anyone requiring medical check-up for coronavirus can do it free of charge - the Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski said on Tuesday. He also informed that there were no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Poland, but added that it would certainly occur in the country "sooner rather than later".

"We have confirmed cases within Schengen zone, multiple outbreaks. (...) So far, there's no virus, but it will certainly come to Poland, sooner rather than later" - said the minister in an interview for TVN24.

Szumowski also announced he would ask EU Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to organise an urgent meeting of EU health ministers in response to coronavirus crisis.

Furthermore, the minister stressed that people suspecting they may have contracted contracted coronavirus can do the tests free of charge.

Growing number of cases in EU

Italy's coronavirus crisis spread south on Tuesday beyond its original epicentre in the north, as the death toll from the worst outbreak in Europe rose to 11 and the number of new cases jumped above 320, officials said.

A tourist from Lombardy, the worst-affected area, was diagnosed with the disease while on holiday in Sicily, and the regions of Tuscany and Liguria both reported their first cases.

Italians or people who had recently visited the north of the country tested positive in Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia and Romania on Tuesday, showing how far and fast the illness could spread.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 322 from 229 on Monday, with the vast majority from Lombardy and Veneto, the economic powerhouse of the country that include the financial capital Milan and the tourist hotspot Venice.

WHO urges to prepare

Countries need to prepare immediately for an outbreak of the novel coronavirus so they can respond rapidly when it arrives, a top World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Tuesday.

"Think the virus is going to show up tomorrow," Dr. Bruce Aylward, head of the joint WHO-Chinese mission on the outbreak, told reporters on return to Geneva.

"If you don't think that way, you're not going to be ready," he said, saying it was an "incredibly interconnected world".

Authorities should prepare hospital beds, isolation zones, respirators and oxygen for severe cases, he said. "Plans should be in place to transport and test suspected victims of the disease".


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24