European Commission strengthens preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks

Immediate short term measures have been presented by the European Commission (EC) to enhance EU health preparedness for future COVID-19 outbreaks.

The pandemic has put extreme pressure on healthcare systems and economies across the world. The EU and its Member States have introduced measures to mitigate social and economic impacts, such as maintaining the functioning of the internal market, supporting the transport and tourism sectors, protecting employment and supporting medical care services for vulnerable groups. Member States are increasingly coordinating their response, which is essential to ensure that the epidemiological situation remains low.

The EC’s measures include priority actions for national authorities and EU Agencies:

  • Increased testing coverage, contact tracing and surveillance.
  • Ensuring the smooth supply of personal protective equipment, medicines and medical devices through mechanisms such as emergency joint procurement and strategic EU stockpiles.
  • Maintaining rapid access to public health surge capacities without neglecting other areas of healthcare.
  • Provision of targeted and localised non-pharmaceutical measures, informed by research and evidence.
  • Supporting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and those on the margins of society.
  • Reducing the burden of seasonal flu.

Continued vigilance and rapid response from the EC and Member States is encouraged to ensure that the spread of the virus can be contained and future generalised lockdowns can be avoided.  Read more here.