March 5, 2020 / 4:27 PM / a month ago

EU eyes mobilisation of retired medical workers, students to fight coronavirus

BRUSSELS, March 5 (Reuters) - European Union states are mulling radical measures to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, including the mobilisation of retired healthcare workers and medical students to help hospitals handle growing numbers of patients, an EU official said on Thursday.

Will the epidemics in the continent “require in the future the mobilisation of additional healthcare staff, for example by recalling retired healthcare workers or mobilising medical students? These are questions that we are actively discussing,” the EU Commission official said at a public hearing in the Committee of the Region, an EU body.

As more than 4,000 cases have been so far detected across EU countries, the official said it was necessary to boost the supply of protective gear for the safety of healthcare workers. He added that many EU countries are facing shortages.

EU health ministers are due to discuss the coronavirus outbreak at a meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio Editing by John Chalmers

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