Brexit sets UK apart on coronavirus

London does not want to lean on the EU to help coordinate its response to coronavirus | Daniel Leal-olivas/AFP via Getty Images

Brexit sets UK apart on coronavirus

London insists that it doesn’t need the EU superstructure to speak to its neighbors.

By and

3/3/20, 6:05 PM CET

Updated 3/3/20, 10:06 PM CET

LONDON — Brexit means Brexit, even when it comes to coronavirus.

The U.K. is bracing for an increase in confirmed cases of those infected but on the day it published its “action plan” to combat an outbreak, it was abundantly clear London does not want to lean on the EU to help coordinate its response.

While still paying into the EU budget and able to access EU infectious disease databases until the end of the transition period, the U.K. is officially out of the club, without representation — and no exception has been made for the growing international health crisis, the first such event to test the post-Brexit relationship.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is not attending — and has not been invited to — meetings of EU health ministers to coordinate the Continent’s response and there are also doubts over the U.K.’s continued membership of the EU’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) for pandemics.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his health secretary laid out the details of the U.K.’s strategy, several health experts voiced concern about the apparent lack of cooperation with the EU. “Not taking the best public health approach for political reasons is foolish,” said Clare Wenham,

 »