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European Parliament opens doors to homeless and vulnerable amid coronavirus crisis

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European Parliament opens doors to homeless and vulnerable amid coronavirus crisis
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EU politics has largely gone online, leaving empty buildings in Brussels.

It means European Parliament facilities can be used in the battle against coronavirus.

"We have decided to make one of our buildings available for homeless people and for the most vulnerable in society during this serious health emergency," said European Parliament President David Sassoli in a video message.

In the case of Brussels, two spaces will be created inside one of its buildings. One for the homeless, and another for those who leave the hospital but still cannot return home.

The kitchens will also work at full capacity.

"Every day, our kitchens will make more than 1,000 meals to be distributed to those in need and also for health workers, to help them in their jobs. We are close to those who suffer, to those who work tirelessly in our hospitals," Sassoli added.

In the French city of Strasbourg, another European Parliament building will accept patients, but thoughts are already turning to exit strategies.

"In the coming weeks, there will be a detection centre," explains parliament's spokesperson Jaume Duch, "because everybody has understood that the exit phase of this pandemic will mainly about the ability test to a lot of people and deciding to isolate those that have the illness even without any symptoms."

Since mid-March, MEPs and European Parliament officials have been working from home - holding meetings and even votes on ways to deal with the crisis.