MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - EU countries have given Cyprian MEP Christos Stylianides the responsible for coordinating the Union’s efforts in its struggle against the deadly Ebola virus, which recently emerged in West Africa and has already spread internationally, EUbusiness reports.
"We're in a race against time on Ebola and we must address both the emergency situation and at the same time have a long term response," said the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, adding that the Commission cooperates with industrial enterprises to create medicaments, vaccines and appropriate diagnostic methods.
Stylianides is being appointed as European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, whose main responsibilities will include distribution of humanitarian aid, provision of health services and sustainable development. According to EU foreign ministers, the new “Ebola manager” will help harmonize EU countries’ policy with regard to the Ebola virus and coordinate various EU efforts such as deployment of medical workers, financial aid and the creation of appropriate medical facilities in case the disease continues to circulate throughout the European region and is to be taken under control. Stylianides, who is going to take office on November 1, will have to "race against time" and prevent the virus from spreading elsewhere, the European Commission said.
As the latest figures show, EU countries have tied up €24.4 million for vaccine tests support and €600 million for humanitarian aid and other activities aimed at the suppression of the disease. According to the latest data, the virus has infected 10,000 people, 4,900 more have been died.
With the high numbers of international medical workers deployed in the affected areas, the risk of case exportations to other countries through international travel is relatively high. The recent case in New York of US doctor Craig Spencer who had worked in West Africa and tested positive for Ebola, as well as other similar cases in US, Spain and Germany show that the risk of the disease spreading must be taken seriously.