EU Member States Urged to Prepare for Next Phase of Covid Pandemic
The European Commission has called on member states to take action before autumn to ensure vigilance and continued coordination of health preparedness in response to the Covid 19 Pandemic.
The Commission is proposing a set of actions to manage the current phase of the pandemic and prepare for the next one.
Currently, fluctuating case numbers are being observed across Europe, but increases are not leading to severe disease or death as often as before thanks to widespread vaccination. The now dominant Omicron variant is less severe than previous variants. However, infections are still in the millions worldwide. Many people are in lockdowns in some parts of the world. Many are still suffering or dying from COVID-19. Waning immunity against infection, and possible winter seasonality also increase the risk that new variants of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – will emerge and spread.
While Member States are implementing new approaches to manage the ongoing pandemic, fragmented preparedness and response strategies risk undermining the benefits that EU-wide coordination of health security measures has brought so far.
The EU Commission is inviting Member States to;
- Step up vaccination and boosting, taking into account the simultaneous circulation of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza
- Set up integrated surveillance systems that are no longer based on the identification and reporting of all COVID-19 cases, but rather on obtaining reliable and representative estimates
- Continue targeted testing and sequencing of sufficient samples to accurately estimate variant circulation and detect new variants
- Invest in the recovery of healthcare systems and assess the wider health impacts of the pandemic, including on mental health and delays in treatments and care
- Apply EU coordinated rules to ensure free and safe travel, both within the EU and with international partners
- Support the development of the next generation of vaccines and therapeutics
- Intensify collaboration against mis- and disinformation on COVID-19 vaccines
- Continue to deploy global solidarity and improve global governance
In addition, the Commission is announcing actions to ensure resilient supply chains, both for medical countermeasures and for critical products across all industrial ecosystems.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said, “We are entering a new phase of the pandemic, as we move from emergency mode to a more sustainable management of COVID-19. Yet, we must remain vigilant. Infection numbers are still high in the EU and many people are still dying from COVID-19 worldwide. Moreover, new variants can emerge and spread fast. But we know the way forward. We need to further step-up vaccination and boosting, and targeted testing – and we need to continue to coordinate our responses closely in the EU.”