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Common lifting of containment measures

15.4.2020 – Today, the Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, has put forward a European roadmap to phase-out the containment measures due to the coronavirus outbreak. While we are still in firefighting mode, the necessary extraordinary measures taken by Member States and the EU are working. They have slowed down the spread of the virus and saved thousands of lives. However, these measures and the corresponding uncertainty come at a dramatic cost to people, society and the economy, and cannot last indefinitely. While recognising the specificities of each country, the European roadmap establishes the following key principles: Timing is essential. Deciding that the time has cometo begin to relax confinement should be based on these criteria: o Epidemiological criteria showing that the spread of the disease has significantly decreased and stabilised for a sustained period. o Sufficient health system capacity, for example taking into account the occupation rate for intensive care units, the availability of health care workers and medical material. o Appropriate monitoring capacity, including large-scale testing capacity to quickly detect and isolate infected individuals, as well as tracking and tracing capacity. We need a European approach. While timing and modalities for lifting containment measures differ between Member States, we need a common framework that is based on: o Science with public health at its centre, while acknowledging that ending restrictive measures involves balancing public health benefits with social and economic impacts. o Coordination between Member States, to avoid negative effects. This is a matter of common European interest. o Respect and solidarity. This is essentialfor both health and socio-economic aspects. At a minimum, Member States should notify each other and the Commission in due time before they lift measures and take into account their views. Phasing-out confinement requires accompanying measures, including: o Gathering harmonised data and developing a robust system of reporting and contact tracing, including with digital tools that fully respect data privacy; o Expanding testing capacity and harmonising testing methodologies. The Commission – in consultation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – has adopted Guidelines today on different coronavirus tests and their performance; o Increasing the capacity and resilience of national health care systems, in particular to address the predicted rise in infections after lifting restrictive measures; o Continuing to reinforce medical and personal protective equipment capacities. o Developing safe and effective treatments and medicines, as well as developing and fast-tracking the introduction of a vaccine to put an end to the coronavirus. More: here

Source: EC Press

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