Commission issues list of measures for Member States to prevent second wave of COVID-19

With increases in cases being seen in several countries, notably Belgium, the executive warned that “now is not the time to let our guard down.”
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By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

04 Aug 2020

The European Commission recommendations aim to help Member States deal with everything from a surge in healthcare capacity, support to minorities and vulnerable persons and reducing the “burden” of seasonal influenza.

A spokesman for the executive told reporters on Tuesday that the measures “explain the different actions we recommend that Member States take to control a possible second wave and how the EU can help with this.”

The measures aim to strengthen EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks and focus on “all necessary actions” needed to enhance preparedness, including testing and contact tracing, improved public health surveillance and widened access.

Poland has reported its fourth record daily increase in Coronavirus cases in a week, with more than 30 percent of cases coming from the Silesia region in the south.

A second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic is “highly likely” to hit France in the autumn or winter, according to the government’s top scientific body. The warning comes as authorities seek to contain an increase in new cases over the past two weeks.

Germany is already contending with a new wave and risks squandering its early success by flouting social distancing rules, the head of the German doctors’ union said.

“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” Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Vice-President

The number of daily confirmed Coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks, with health experts warning lax adherence to hygiene and distancing rules among some of the public is spreading the virus across communities.

Belgium has seen a rise of over 100 percent in the last seven days, while there have been increases in parts of the UK, including Leeds, which has seen cases treble in the last week.

The Commission says that “priority actions” for national authorities should include: increased testing coverage, contact tracing and surveillance by public health bodies to map clusters in order to contain the spread of outbreaks; ensuring the smooth supply of personal protective equipment, medicines and medical devices through mechanisms such as emergency joint procurements and strategic EU stockpiles.

Moreover, vulnerable groups should be supported, 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.

Margaritis Schinas, Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, said, “We now know more about the virus but our duty is to remain vigilant and preventive.”

The measures, he said, aim to counter further possible outbreaks of COVID-19.

“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” Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

“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, added, “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.”

“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.”

The executive says that “continued vigilance and fast” response from the Commission and Member States is essential to ensure that the spread of the virus can be contained and new, generalised lockdowns can be avoided.

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