01 May, 2009
LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
The European Union's special Health Ministers Council adopted joint measures to avert the spreading of the "new flu" (swine flu) here on Thursday. Greece was represented by Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The 27 ministers clarified that there is no direct relation between the virus and the consumption of pork and agreed that the new form of swine flu will be determined with the common European definition of "novel flu virus", in an effort to prevent negative repercussions for the food industry and for stockbreeding mainly.
The EU health ministers agreed to facilitate the development of a vaccine that will tackle the virus, as soon as possible, in cooperation with the pharmaceuticals industry. They further agreed to seek a more effective system for the procurement of this vaccine.
The Council decided unanimously to take all necessary measures to protect public health, in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Health regulations, the systematic exchange of information on the development of the virus through existing structures at both European and international level and close cooperation on promoting authoritative and timely information and guidance for citizens, using all available means of communication.
Addressing the Council, Avramopoulos briefed his counterparts on prevention measures taken in Greece to handle the flu and stressed that no case of the virus has been recorded in the country to date.
Referring to the checking of travellers coming into the country, Avramopoulos mentioned the effective process of checking travellers with the use of thermic scanners at airports for detecting fever, as well as the effort being made to inform the public.
The Greek minister stressed the need for the EU to appear with a "unified speech" and added that the basic principle of all member-states "must be absolute transparency and defending of the truth".
Lastly, Avramopoulos underlined the necessary experience and know-how possessed by the European Commission to assume an advisory role for member-states, not only for measures that must be taken to protect public health but also concerning the coordination and taking of all necesssary measures on travel advice issues for airline companies and relevant agencies, as well as for a unified informative campaign in the printed and audiovisual media.
Source: Athens News Agency