Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- The latest session of the EU Parliament due to be held in Strasbourg has been cancelled because of the risk of spreading Coronavirus. The Strasbourg seat of the EU Parliament is in Alsace which is the worst affected part of France. The number of cases was boosted by an evangelical religious conference held in Mulhouse near Strasbourg, involving .delegates from all over the world.

European Parliament President David Sassoli announced that the parliament’s medical service believes that the health risks are considered to be significantly higher if parliament's plenary session takes place in Strasbourg. "On the basis of this evaluation, due to force majeure, I decided that the necessary security conditions are not in place for the usual transfer of the European Parliament to Strasbourg for the plenary session.", he said.

A French parliamentary Deputy from Alsace, Jean-Luc Reitzer, has already contracted the virus and is in intensive care. The French department of the Haut Rhin, the southern half of Alsace, is at ‘reinforced stage 2’ with all schools and nurseries closed and many public events cancelled for the next two weeks.

So far the virus has caused sixteen deaths in France with 949 known cases as of 7 March. After Italy, France is the worst affected country in Europe. There have been allegations that the French government refused to close the frontier with Italy for European ideological reasons. The French government has also been criticized for a shortage of surgical masks.

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