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Two COVID-19 cases in EU agency in Brussels

Two COVID-19 cases in EU agency in Brussels

A staff member works on a graphic updates of the progress of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak around the world at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Brussels on Mar 2, 2020. (Photo: AFP/John Thys)

BRUSSELS: Two EU officials working in the bloc's Brussels administration has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, European officials said Wednesday (Mar 4). 

The second case was confirmed just hours after the first.

A spokeswoman for the European Defence Agency confirmed that a male public servant of the agency had returned from Italy on Feb 23 and subsequently tested positive. 

READ: Virus fears prompt Italy to ban kisses, handshakes

The second confirmed case, who works in a security unit of the European Council, is believed to have been in contact with a previous case in Belgium.

Meetings at the headquarters of the Brussels-based agency have been cancelled until Mar 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.

READ: COVID-19 fatality rate higher than the flu, says WHO 

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 erupted in China.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the novel coronavirus and its developments

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Source: AFP/ad

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