European Commission preparing for ‘next phase of the pandemic’

European Commission preparing for ‘next phase of the pandemic’. Image: Vladimir Fedotov

European Commission preparing for ‘next phase of the pandemic’.

The EU has also proposed a ‘set of actions to manage the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic’.

THE European Commission is preparing for the ‘next phase of the pandemic’ in a set of actions outlined in a press release on Wednesday, April 27.

“The Commission is today (April 27) proposing a set of actions to manage the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the next one,” it read.

“By working together, the EU has so far saved hundreds of thousands of lives thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, kept its single market operational, minimised travel restrictions and mobilised manufacturing capacity of critical products when supply chains were disrupted.”

It added: “In the new phase of the pandemic, where preparedness and response need to be sustained, coordination will be, once more, essential. The Commission, therefore, calls on Member States to take actions before autumn to ensure vigilance and continued coordination of health preparedness and response.”

The actions proposed by the EU fall under their “remaining vigilant while transitioning out of the acute COVID-19 phase”.

They are:

  • 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.

The 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.

She added: “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.”

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and the virus is here to stay. While the health situation is improving, we must prepare for different scenarios, and do it in a coordinated way. New variants are not a question of if but rather a question of when. Improvisation and fragmentation are not an option. Vigilance and preparedness remain as essential as ever and we must continue our work without respite.

“For these reasons, we are taking actions at national and EU level building on the successful EU-wide coordination for health preparedness and response. We shift from firefighters to architects, of a Health Union that protects public health while keeping society and economy open and resilient,” he concluded.

The actions outlined come after a new ‘dominant’ variant was detected in the UK and in Spain.

The Omicron XE variant – a combination of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants – could be more contagious than previous strains, according to Dr Alan Stout, the chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in Northern Ireland.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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