March 9, 2020 / 2:46 PM / 3 months ago

First coronavirus case detected at EU Commission

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A first case of coronavirus has been detected among staff at the European Commission, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

The woman came back from Italy and has been in quarantine since last week, an EU official said. The EU Commission, the 27-nations bloc’s executive, has a staff of around 32,000.

Last week, another EU body, the European Defence Agency, reported a case of coronavirus among its staff. The official had also recently travelled to northern Italy. The Council of the European Union, another body, also decided to send home close to 50 persons after two staff members tested positive to the virus.

The European Parliament has moved a plenary session that was scheduled for next week in the French city of Strasbourg to Brussels because of concerns about the coronavirus risk. It is now discussing whether to cancel all together the monthly gathering.

Separately, Belgium’s health ministry said on Monday the number of coronavirus cases in the country had reached 239, while it decided to limit tests to seriously ill patients and healthcare professionals due to shortages of reagents.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine, Francesco Guarascio and Gabriela Baczynska

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