Wednesday

30th Nov 2022

EU virus-alert agency says new restrictions needed

  • Face masks are mandatory at airports and elsewhere (Photo: Chad Davis)

The EU agency in charge of infectious disease is demanding member states with Covid-19 spikes re-instate restrictions.

The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), on Thursday (10 August), recommended restrictions be rolled out in a "phased, step-wise, and sustainable approach".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The suggestion follows an uptick in Covid-19 cases across numerous member states of the European Union.

With a relaxation of restrictions ahead of the holiday break, fears are mounting that a second wave of the virus could hit.

Over 1.8 million confirmed cases have so far been reported across the bloc, including Liechtenstein, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.

Of those, some 183,848 people have died.

The ECDC says "notification rates" have been increasing in Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Death notification rate hikes have also been observed in Bulgaria, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Romania.

"We estimate that 24% of hospitalised COVID-19 cases reported in the EU/EEA and the UK have died," says the ECDC.

The overall figures are still much lower when compared to March and April.

But Germany's Robert Koch Institute issued similar warnings.

On Thursday, it said Covid-19 cases have been rising throughout Germany over the past few weeks.

It added the number of districts reporting zero cases over a period of 7 days has decreased markedly.

"This trend is concerning," said the institute.

It noted outbreaks are being reported in nursing homes, hospitals, asylum-seeker centres, meat-processing plant, schools, and religious and family events.

People travelling from high-risk areas into Germany must now get tested for the virus.

Other EU states are also clamping down.

France is demanding face-masks be worn in some outdoor public and tourist spaces around Paris.

Belgium did the same in Brussels after a curfew was imposed on its port city of Antwerp.

Greece has hinted that new containment measures may also be needed after its health minister said the transmission of the virus was "growing dangerously."

Outbreaks have been reported in north-eastern Spain and over a dozen infection clusters have been identified in Italy.

The warnings come amid some hope for a new vaccine before the end of year.

European Commissioner for health Stella Kyriakides had over the weekend suggested that a first vaccine could be ready by year's end.

"Although making predictions is risky at this point, we have good indications that the first vaccine will be available toward the end of this year or beginning of next year," she said, in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

EU leaders agree corona recovery after epic summit

After gruelling five-day talks, EU leaders agreed on €390bn in grants and €360bn in low-interest loans to hardest-hit member states - after much opposition from the Dutch-led 'frugal' bloc of countries.

EU states agree on corona hygiene standards for aviation

German transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, announced that EU member states have agreed on common hygiene standards on planes and airports - as major airlines are calling for a joint coronavirus-testing programme in order to resume trans-Atlantic travel.

MEPs worry over lack of common Covid-19 criteria

MEPs have raised concerns about lack of common Covid 19-related criteria among member states, while the EU virus-alert agency said priority should be given to harmonisation of testing.

Opinion

Swine fever outbreak threatens EU farmers

African Swine Fever, a highly contagious disease estimated to have claimed a quarter of the world's pig population last year, has quietly reached worrying new levels in Europe.

Opinion

How EU banks underwrote the Qatar World Cup

European banks and investors have invested heavily in Qatari sovereign bonds, and construction and hospitality companies — with scant attention to well-documented human rights violations.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us