Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Coronavirus is not high threat to workers, EU says, causing outcry

CoronavirusJun 03, 2020 08:20AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels

By Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission classified the new coronavirus as a mid-level threat to workers, drawing criticism from socialist lawmakers because the move will allow less stringent workplace safety measures than if the virus was deemed a high risk.

The decision has wide economic and health implications as it could affect companies' costs in restarting business activity and have an impact on workers' safety.

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, classified the new coronavirus as a level-3 hazard on a four-step risk list on which level 4 is the highest.

Under EU rules, a level-3 virus "can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; it may present a risk of spreading to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available".

Level-4 biological agents pose a "high risk" of infection with no prophylaxis or treatment available.

There is currently no treatment to prevent or cure COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which has killed nearly 380,000 people worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said several criteria are used to classify biological hazards and none of them has more weight than others.

"The existence or absence of prophylaxis cannot be considered as a standalone criterion," the spokeswoman said.

The decision followed consultations with scientists and with the World Health Organisation, and it was supported by experts from the 27 EU states, based on the most recent data on the epidemic, she added.

NOT TRANSPARENT

"We strongly oppose the decision by the Commission to classify COVID-19 only as a mid-level hazard. COVID-19 is the biggest health challenge of our lifetime," said EU lawmaker Agnes Jongerius, who speaks on employment matters for the socialist grouping, the second largest in the EU Parliament.

She said the decision was not taken in a transparent fashion. "There is no public information available about the consulted experts and their reasoning."

The Commission's decision is immediately applicable, but the parliament could block it in a vote expected in June.

Medics and nurses are among those most at risk of contracting the disease. Localised outbreaks have often occurred in plants with a large workforce, such as slaughterhouses.

The decision means employers will have to guarantee a series of safety measures for their workers. But because the virus is not classified as high risk they are less likely to be exposed to legal challenges in case of infections.

The epidemic in Europe, the world's worst-hit region, has reached its peak, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

However, the virus is still circulating and a second large wave of infections is considered likely in the autumn.

Coronavirus is not high threat to workers, EU says, causing outcry
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email