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World

AFP
March 4, 2020

Second case of coronavirus hits EU offices in Brussels

World

AFP
Wed, Mar 04, 2020
Image: AFP

BRUSSELS: The second case of coronavirus was confirmed on Wednesday among the European Union staff in the city, an official told AFP.

The case comes hours after authorities confirmed the first case. 

The infected person works in a security unit of the European Council — which represents EU member states — and is believed to have been in contact with a previous case in Belgium, he said.

Identifying the first victim of the virus, a European Defence Agency spokesperson confirmed that a male public servant of the agency had returned from Italy on February 23 and subsequently tested positive.

Meetings at the headquarters of the Brussels-based agency have been cancelled until March 13, Elisabeth Schoeffmann said.

But the EDA spokeswoman denied a report that the official had attended a four-hour meeting with 30 more staff from the other EU bodies in the city before he was diagnosed.

Brussels is the de facto capital of the 27-nation union and home to many of its institutions, including the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament.

Parliament has already limited public access to its buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg, amid fears that large gatherings could hasten the spread of the global outbreak.

More than 90,000 people have been infected and around 3,200 have died worldwide since the virus, which erupted in China but has now spread to dozens of countries worldwide.