Coronavirus outbreak: EU officials remark on COVID-19 after emergency meeting | FULL

European Union health officials held a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak, following an emergency meeting.

EU officials said on Friday they are considering temporary suspensions of rules on state subsidies and EU loans to economic sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Also on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited a retirement home in Paris -which has 94 residents, the oldest aged 107- in a move to reassure both the elderly and health workers about France’s readiness to combat the spread of the virus.

Macron said France will likely move to the highest level of epidemic alert "in the coming days" as the new coronavirus keeps spreading. French Health authorities on Friday reported 577 confirmed cases of the virus, including nine deaths. The virus is known to affect the elderly and the sick more than other groups of people.

The Dutch public health institute has reported the Netherlands’ first coronavirus death, while Serbia and Slovakia confirmed their first cases of the virus. An 86-year-old man died in a hospital in Rotterdam. It is not known where he contracted the virus. The Netherlands currently has 82 known infections.

Elsewhere, Germany’s confirmed virus cases topped 530 and the government-run Robert Koch Institute announced it has added Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region to the list of "risk areas" where community transmission of the virus is suspected. The German-speaking region in northern Italy is popular with German tourists.

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