Coronavirus: Commission strengthens preparedness for future outbreaks
The Commission yesterday presented immediate short-term measures to strengthen EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks. The Commission has from the outset coordinated the exchange of information and recommendations with regard to cross border health actions and measures. A continued vigilance and fast response from the Commission and the Member States is essential to ensure that the spread of the virus can be contained and new, generalised lockdowns can be avoided.
The Communication focuses on all necessary actions needed to enhance preparedness, including testing and contact tracing, improved public health surveillance and widened access to medical countermeasures such as personal protective equipment, medicines and medical devices. Actions also include measures on healthcare surge capacity, non-pharmaceutical countermeasures, support to minorities and vulnerable persons, and activities to reduce the burden of seasonal influenza.
The communication lays out a number of priority actions for national authorities, the Commission and EU Agencies:
- Increased testing coverage, contact tracing and surveillance by public health bodies to map clusters in order to contain the spread of outbreaks. In addition to the Communication, the Commission yesterday adopted an Implementing Decision to support interoperability of mobile tracing and warning apps across national borders in the EU.
- Ensuring the smooth supply of personal protective equipment, medicines and medical devices through mechanisms such as emergency joint procurements and strategic EU stockpiles.
- Maintaining rapid access to public health surge capacities without neglecting other areas of healthcare, including through financial support for the transport of medical personnel and patients between Member States and the coordination of the deployment of emergency medical teams and equipment to requesting countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
- Provision of targeted and localised non-pharmaceutical measures, informed by research and evidence as well as timely information exchange on the effectiveness of re-introduced measures.
- Supporting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and those on the margins of society through sharing best practices of testing, care, and treatment, including in mental health and psychosocial support.
- Reducing the burden of seasonal flu to avoid additional pressure on the already-stretched health care systems, through increased vaccination coverage and other means such as ensuring additional national procurements for influenza vaccines.
Members of the College said:
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, yesterday said:
"We now know more about the virus but our duty is to remain vigilant and preventive. The set of measures presented today aim to counter further possible outbreaks of COVID-19. Drawing on the lessons of the past months we are planning ahead to avoid improvisation, reinforcing our preparedness on all fronts, preserving the single market and its main freedoms, and facilitating the path towards economic and social recovery across the EU.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, yesterday said:
“We have come a long way from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but the virus is still circulating. Vigilance, preparedness and coordination are indispensable to prevent generalised outbreaks. Today we call for strong and joint action to protect our citizens and will support Member States in doing so. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are fully prepared. Now is not the time to let our guard down.”
Latest News from
Council agrees on new rules for cross-border energy infrastructure14/06/2021 16:48:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) reached a general approach on the revision of the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation.
Council approves conclusions on an EU renovation wave14/06/2021 15:25:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) approved conclusions on a renovation wave that repairs the economy now, and creates green buildings for the future.
Council approves EU-UK agreement on fishing opportunities14/06/2021 13:25:00
The Council recently (11 June 2021) approved the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on fishing opportunities for 2021 and, for deep-sea stocks, for 2021 and 2022.
EU-U.S Joint statement on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray14/06/2021 09:25:00
EU-U.S Joint statement given recently (10 June 2021) on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray.
Talent Partnerships: Commission launches new initiative to address EU skills shortages and improve migration cooperation with partner countries11/06/2021 16:33:00
Today, the Commission is launching Talent Partnerships, a key initiative under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum that will help to address skills shortages in the European Union and to strengthen mutually-beneficial partnerships on migration with third countries.
Central America and Mexico: EU reaffirms support with €18.5 million in humanitarian and development aid11/06/2021 15:25:00
The EU yesterday announced at the 'Solidarity event for forcibly displaced persons and host communities in Central America and Mexico', that it will allocate €18.5 million in aid. Of this sum, €12 million represents humanitarian funding to Central America, and €6.5 million constitutes development assistance.
Council endorses new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change11/06/2021 14:38:00
The Council yesterday approved conclusions endorsing a new strategy that outlines a long-term vision for the EU to become a climate-resilient society that is fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change by 2050.
Child Labour: Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative on the World Day against Child Labour11/06/2021 13:25:00
Child Labour: Statement given by the European Commission and the High Representative on the World Day against Child Labour.
Education: EU increases its commitment to Global Partnership for Education with a pledge of €700 million for 2021-202711/06/2021 12:38:00
Ahead of the G7 Summit, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen yesterday announced that the European Union is pledging €700 million for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help transform education systems for more than one billion girls and boys in up to 90 countries and territories.
EU external action budget: European Commission welcomes the final adoption of the EU's new long-term external action budget for 2021-202711/06/2021 11:33:00
The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's decision to adopt the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – ‘Global Europe' for the period 2021-2027.