The European Commission has set out the key actions needed to step up the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
The European Commission has outlined the key actions needed for a united front to beat the pandemic and is calling on its Member States to accelerate the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination across the EU.
It also calls on the Member States to continue to apply social distancing, limit social contacts, fight disinformation, coordinate travel restrictions, ramp up testing, and increase contact tracing and genome sequencing to face up to the risk from new variants of the virus.
The key actions include:
Speeding up the roll-out of vaccination across the EU
- At least 80% of people over the age of 80, and 80% of health and social care professionals should be vaccinated by March 2021.
- 70% of the entire adult population should be vaccinated by summer 2021.
- The Commission, Member States and the EMA will work with companies to use the EU’s potential for increased vaccine manufacturing capacity to the fullest.
- The Commission is working with Member States on vaccination certificates, in full compliance with EU data protection law.
Testing and genome sequencing
- Member States should update their testing strategies to account for new variants and expand the use of rapid antigen tests.
- Member States should urgently increase genome sequencing to at least 5% and preferably 10% of positive test results.
Preserving the Single Market and free movement while stepping up mitigation measures
- Measures should be applied to further reduce the risk of transmission linked to the means of travel.
- All non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged.
- Proportionate travel restrictions should be maintained for those travelling from areas with a higher incidence of variants of concern.
Ensuring European leadership and international solidarity
- To ensure early access to vaccines, the Commission is to set up a Team Europe mechanism to structure the provision of vaccines shared by Member States with partner countries.
- The European Commission and Member States should continue supporting COVAX
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said:
“Vaccination is essential to get out of this crisis. We have already secured enough vaccines for the entire population of the European Union. Now we need to accelerate the delivery and speed up vaccination. Our aim is to have 70% of our adult population vaccinated by summer. That could be a turning point in our fight against this virus. However, we will only end this pandemic when everyone in the world has access to vaccines. We will step up our efforts to help secure vaccines for our neighbours and partners worldwide.”
Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life, said:
“The emergence of new variants of the virus and substantial rises in cases leave us no room for complacency. Now more than ever must come a renewed determination for Europe to act together with unity, coordination and vigilance. Our proposals today aim to protect more lives and livelihoods later and relieve the burden on already stretched health care systems and workers. This is how the EU will come out of the crisis. The end of the pandemic is in sight though not yet in reach.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said:
“Working together with unity, solidary and determination, we can soon start to see the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Now in particular, we need swift and coordinated action against the new variants of the virus. Vaccinations will still take time until they reach all Europeans and until then we must take immediate, coordinated and proactive steps together. Vaccinations must accelerate across the EU and testing and sequencing must be increased – this is show we can ensure that we leave this crisis behind us as soon as possible.”