Meet the MEPs returning to medicine amid the coronavirus pandemic

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By Stefan Grobe, Joanna Gill
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EU institutions are on lockdown and, while politics goes online, those with medical training are heading to the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm working again as a medical doctor in a private practice where I practised until the end of 2002 so it's quite a long time ago," German MEP Peter Liese told Euronews over Skype.

He gives a quick sweep of the room to show the medical equipment at the cabinet practice in Germany, where, he explains, he does the 'easy stuff', such as taking blood samples.

Another former doctor and MEP is Chrysoula Zacharopoulou from France. These days she is working at a military hospital near Paris. Seeing the crisis up close, gives her some perspective on the EU's response.

"In the face of such a huge sanitary crisis, it's normal that we didn't have the right answer at the start. But now, I think, the Commission, the institutions, using modern technology, have stepped up to the plate. I think that we do see European solidarity."

Having a medical background has helped these MEPs see what is needed to protect public health, across borders. Peter Liese says he had already encouraged the Commission to create a contact point where all hospitals that still have capacity could be registered when they are ready to accept patients from abroad.

Both doctors are reluctant to say when life can go back to normal. They acknowledge that lockdowns are difficult for everyone, but emphasise the need to stay put a little bit longer.

"Let's be humble and patient. Let's respect the instructions and stay and home - out of respect for care-givers, for ourselves and society," insists Zacharopoulou.