A united front to beat COVID-19

Ahead of the meeting of the European Council, to be held on Thursday 21, to discuss a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission set out a number of actions needed to step up the fight against the pandemic.

EU leaders are expected to address ways to contain the risk of a potentially harsher third wave of infections, characterised by the more transmissible new variants of the virus, which are already present across Europe.

In a Communication adopted on January 19, the European Commission calls on Member States to:

  • Speed up vaccination and vaccine supplies, so that by March 2021, Member States should have vaccinated a minimum of 80% of health and social care professionals and people over 80 years old. Additionally, by summer 2021, Member States should have vaccinated a minimum of 70% of the adult population;
  • Ramping up testing and sequencing to control infections and new variants;
  • Ensure the functioning of the Single Market, by adopting a common EU approach on defining incidence rates and also discourage non-essential travel until the epidemiological situation improves;
  • Show international leadership and solidarity with its partners by setting up an EU Vaccine Sharing Mechanism to structure the provision of vaccines shared by Member States with partner countries through a Team Europe approach.

The coming weeks represent a great challenge for the whole of the EU. Before the benefits of vaccination reach a scale to allow the lifting of restrictions, the EU faces a major challenge to address the risk posed by new variants sparking wider and faster transmission of the virus.

The answer lies in working together, with unity, solidarity, coordination and vigilance.

More information can be accessed here.

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