European Union May Follow Common Approach to Limit Covid-19

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission

The European Union (EU) needs a common approach to limit Covid-19 and avoid member states designating other EU countries as red zones, European Parliament’s (EP’s) committee responsible for public health says.

On Wednesday (September 2), the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety held a debate with Dr Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), after she gave an update on the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the EU and the ECDC’s work to address it. Dr Ammon highlighted the most recent data related to Covid-19 in the EU.

Many MEPs highlighted the need to achieve a common approach in limiting the spread of Covid-19 and replace the current tendency for many member states to designate other EU countries as red zones and close borders.

MEPs also deplored that there is still no common modality for counting Covid-19 cases or for testing as each country follows the recommendations of its own scientific agencies without coordination.

This was echoed by Dr Ammon, who said harmonizing testing procedures and frequency is key to achieving better and more comparable data on infection levels in Europe.

Dr Ammon welcomed talks to expand the ECDC’s mandate to also issue recommendations, which currently is only the competence of member states, as well as to increase its resources.

The issue of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccinations and vaccine-hesitancy including by some young people was raised as a challenge and Dr Ammon said the ECDC is doing what it can to inspire trust.

Committee Chair Pascal Canfin (Renew, FR) informed that there will be a debate with the Commission on Covid-19 vaccines on 7 September as well as a public hearing planned for 22 September.

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Rakesh Raman