The risk for people living or travelling in Europe to be infected with the COVID-19 has been leveled up by the European Center for Disease Prevention Control (ECDC), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Monday.
According to the daily ECDC risk assessment published on Monday, the risk associated with COVID-19 infection for people in the EU/EEA and UK is currently considered "moderate to high". In its previous assessment published on Feb. 23, the assessment was low to moderate.
"In other words the virus continues to spread," von der Leyen told a press conference in Brussels.
The ECDC has made the assessment on a daily basis for more than a week, since the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy. So far more than 20 European countries have reported COVID-19 infection cases.
Praising the efforts made by the European Commission to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, von der Leyen also announced the establishment of a COVID-19 response team that comprises high-profile commissioners.
The response team brings together all the different strands of action to boost the preparedness across the EU that have been in place since weeks ago, she added.
The team comprises five European Commissioners -- Janez Lenarcic, who is in charge of crisis management, Stella Kyriakides, in charge of health issues, Ylva Johansson, for border-related issues, Adina Valean, in charge of mobility and Paolo Gentiloni, for macroeconomic aspects.
One of the three pillars which the response team will work on is the medical field, covering prevention and procurement to relief measures, information and foresight, said von der Leyen.
A second pillar covers mobility, from transport to travel advice and Schengen-related questions. The third pillar covers the economy. It is looking in-depth at various business sectors -- such as tourism or transport, trade, as well as value chains and macro-economy, she added.
Also on Monday, the Commission launched a website on COVID-19, to provide information on activities across medical, civil protection, mobility, economy and statistics angles, as well as links to EU member states' dedicated websites, most recent studies and other relevant information.