The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says the risk of other European or UK COVID-19 clusters similar to the latest outbreak in Italy, is moderate to high.
On 22 February, Italian authorities reported clusters of cases of COVID-19 in northern Italy. The cases do not appear to have been contracted through first generation transmission from an affected area and seems to have occurred locally. Transmission events have been reported to have occurred in hospitals, with COVID-19 cases identified among healthcare workers and patients. Two elderly patients have died from the disease.
The ECDC says the impact of further clusters in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) would be moderate to high, especially if hospitals were affected and a large number of healthcare workers had to be isolated. The impact on vulnerable groups within affected hospitals or healthcare facilities is considered to be severe, particularly for the elderly.
As of 9am 23 February 2020, more than 78,800 cases have been reported worldwide, mainly in China. Local transmission has been reported in 14 countries.
In the EU/EEA and the UK, 121 cases and three deaths have been reported (two in Italy and one in France).