Coronavirus second wave: Europe prepares for another peak – ‘Must NOT let our guard down’

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The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, has announced a series of new measures to prepare for the second wave of COVID-19. The proposals include more tests, contract traceability, improved surveillance and seasonal flu vaccination coverage. The announcement comes after several EU states reimposed its lockdown measures, due to a recent surge in cases.

The EU is taking the reins and ensuring that Europe is able to respond to a second wave of the pandemic, should one arise.

The new measures announced by the European Commission include: better coverage through testing, contact traceability, improved surveillance and greater access to medical services are at the core of these measures.

Officials also said greater coordination will be needed between member states if the virus returns in the coming months.

The bloc unveiled both short and long-term actions to strengthen the response of all EU nations.

Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, said: “We now know more about the virus, but our duty is to remain vigilant.

“Drawing on lessons from the past few months, we are planning ahead to avoid improvisation, strengthening our preparation on all fronts, preserving the single market and its main freedoms and facilitating the path to economic and social recovery in all of the EU.”

He congratulated the bloc on bringing the pandemic down to manageable levels, and said now is the time to reaffirm the EU’s ability to respond to future outbreaks.

The Commission looks to ensure essential medical supplies can easily be shipped between member states, to avoid shortages.

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The bloc will also look at facilitating large-scale clinical studies into coronavirus treatments.

Mr Schinas reinforced the idea of coordination between the bloc and said: “It stresses the need for coordination.

“We will never get tired to make this point. Since actions converged, the situation got better.

“And this is the approach we want to apply in the future.

“We do not want to see a lack of coordination.”

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Brussels also proposes to finance and facilitate the transport of medical teams to the EU and between the Member States and the transfer of patients between countries.

The EU also aims to ramp up vaccination coverage for seasonal flu, to ensure that hospitals can cope in the winter months.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health said: “The virus is still in circulation.

She says “surveillance, preparation and coordination” should be at the centre to “prevent general outbreaks”.

Ms Kyriakides added: “Today we call for strong and supportive action to protect our citizens and support the Member States in doing so.

“It is our responsibility to make sure that we are fully prepared.

“Now is not the time to let your guard down.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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