News Release 

Novel coronavirus: ECDC updates risk assessment for Europe

Further global spread likely along with moderate likelihood of imported cases being detected in EU/EEA countries

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

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IMAGE: Since 31 December 2019 and as of 22 January 2020, overall, 448 laboratory-confirmed cases of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV infection, including nine deaths were reported. Of the reported cases 441 were... view more 

Credit: ECDC

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in China is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among humans are always of public health concern, especially when there is little is knowledge about the characteristics of the virus, how it spreads between people, how severe are the resulting infections are and how to treat them.

"The developments over the last few days show that this novel coronavirus is causing potentially impactful localised outbreaks in healthcare- and other settings", states ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. "Further global spread is also likely. There is a moderate likelihood of imported cases being detected in EU/EEA countries. The likelihood of case importation is highest in countries with the greatest volume of people travelling to and from Wuhan. There is considerable uncertainty about the mortality and morbidity of this disease, and more epidemiological data is urgently needed to get a better understanding of this virus."

On the basis of the information currently available, ECDC considers that:

  • the potential impact of 2019-nCoV outbreaks is high;
  • further global spread is likely;
  • there is currently a moderate likelihood of infection for EU/EEA travellers visiting Wuhan;
  • there is a high likelihood of case importation into countries with the greatest volume of people travelling to and from Wuhan (i.e. countries in Asia);
  • there is a moderate likelihood of detecting cases imported into EU/EEA countries;
  • adherence to appropriate infection prevention and control practices, particularly in healthcare settings in EU/EEA countries with direct links to Wuhan, means that the likelihood of a case reported in the EU resulting in secondary cases within the EU/EEA is low.

ECDC is monitoring this event through epidemic intelligence activities, and provides risk assessments to guide EU Member States and the EU Commission in their response activities.

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ECDC is publishing daily updates about developments concerning the novel coronavirus (in the early afternoon Stockholm time) on its dedicated outbreak page: http://bit.ly/2019nCoV

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