Short-term EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 318
Publication Date 15/07/2020
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Communication published by the European Commission on 15 July 2020, presenting immediate short-term measures to strengthen EU health preparedness for future COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreaks.

Further information:

The COVID-19 pandemic requires continuous vigilance and coordinated action. More knowledge has been acquired on the disease itself, and Member States have taken measures to increase the capacity of their health systems, and to respond to social and economic impact of the emergency. While restrictions have slowly been lifted, regional outbreaks across the EU and increasing number of cases worldwide show that the disease is not under full control. The Commission argues that the European Union should use the period of lower transmission rates to reinforce its preparedness and coordinated response capacity to counter further outbreaks of this coronavirus.

This Communication aims at ensuring the EU's short-term health preparedness in case of further COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe. It draws particular attention to the need to reduce the burden of the forthcoming seasonal flu, so to mitigate the additional strain on health systems should this coincide with a further outbreak of COVID-19.  For each domain, this Communication draws on the main lessons learned, positive and negative, and outlines key measures to be taken in the coming months. This is to require strong coordination and exchange of information in and between Member States and communities as well as commitment to implement these measures, which are a national competence. Going forward, agreement on common approaches on health measures is to continue to be sought within the Health Security Committee1 (HSC) as well as in other fora such as the Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR).

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Reuters, 15/07/2020: Fearing COVID 'cocktail of risks', EU urges more flu vaccinations
Politico, 15/07/2020: Commission: Summer is for second wave prep — not vacation

European Commission: Press Release, 15/07/2020: Coronavirus: Commission strengthens preparedness for future outbreaks
European Commission: Remarks by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the press conference on preparedness for future possible outbreaks of COVID-19 (15 July 2020)

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