EU chief is pushing for the coronavirus lockdowns to be progressively lifted and warning of a 3rd wave
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.
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LONDON – According to the President of the European Commission, European governments should gradually lift coronavirus lockdowns and other social restrictions to prevent a third wave of infections.
Europe has been grappling with a second surge in Covid-19 infections since September, which has led to the reintroduction of lockdowns in certain countries and tightening of restrictions across the region.
Despite a slowdown in cases in some countries over the past few days, the numbers are still high and still showing no clear signs of a peak. In the meantime, Europeans are wondering if they can get together with their families on vacation.
On Thursday evening, EU President Ursula von der Leyen said that “expectations must be met”.
“We all learned from our experiences in the summer that exiting a wave, in this case exiting the first wave, is very difficult and that the effects of over-hasty lifting had a very bad impact on the epidemiological situation in the summer and autumn, “she said.
Health experts in Belgium have said the significant increase in infections in late September and October is due to the government relaxing many of the existing restrictions, such as reopening schools for a new semester and getting people back to work.
“We will make a proposal for a step-by-step and coordinated approach to lifting containment measures. This will be very important in order to avoid the risk of another wave,” said von der Leyen at a virtual press conference.
There were more than 11 million Covid-19 infections in Europe (including the EU, the UK and other countries) on Thursday, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. France, Spain and Italy remain the top three EU member states with the most infections. The Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia have the highest cumulative 14-day case numbers per 100,000 population.
Von der Leyen’s comments come after positive news about the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Both Pfizer and BioNtech and Moderna’s vaccines have high rates of effectiveness and the European Commission expects these to be approved by the second half of December.
EU leaders have also considered which sections of the population should be vaccinated first.
Nadia Calvino, Spain’s CFO, told CNBC’s Karen Tso on a panel discussion Thursday that vaccines will not be immediately available to everyone.
“We need to decide which groups should be vaccinated first for maximum effect,” she added.
However, you also have to deal with the issue that many citizens may be against vaccination. In this context, von der Leyen also said that the EU would start an information campaign.