As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread in many European countries, EU leaders examine how to to join forces to best respond to the outbreak.
Three weeks after a first extraordinary Health Council adopted their Conclusions on Covid-19, EU Health Ministers met on 6 March to discuss the measures taken at national and European level to combat the virus and how to coordinate e.g. to secure the production, stocking, availability and rational use of medical equipment and medicine, and speed up the research into vaccines, treatment, diagnosis and prevention.
The debate confirmed that the best contribution to protecting the health of EU citizens was to strengthen solidarity, cooperation and exchange of information among EU countries. Ministers also agreed on the importance to further raise the collective and individual awareness about the threat posed by the COVID-19, strengthen the protection of people at risk and older people, and adopt coherent containment measures, including evidence-based advice concerning travel to and from risk areas.
On 10 March, the members of the European Council also discussed, by video conference, to ensure proper coordination and agree on common European guidance. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, President of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, and High Representative Josep Borrell took part in the discussion. You can read the outcome of the discussions here.
Within the EU institutions a number of measures to avoid the spread of the virus has been taken, including cancelation of meetings, events and visits.
Useful links & updates:
- Updated information on Coivid-19 and EU’s response
- World Health Organization (WHO)’s advice
- WHO latest updates
- Article by HelpAGE International on the increased risks to older persons