EU health officials: pandemic far from over

  • Friday 25, September 2020 01:30 AM
  • EU health officials: pandemic far from over
Sharjah 24 – KUNA: Two top European Union health officials Thursday expressed concern about increase in number of COVID-19 cases detected in Europe and urged countries not to lower their guard to combat the spread of coronavirus.
"Today's new risk assessment clearly shows us that we cannot lower our guard. With some (EU) Member States experiencing higher numbers of cases than during the peak in March, it is abundantly clear that this crisis is not behind us," Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety told an online news conference in Brussels.

"We are at a decisive moment and everyone has to act decisively and use the tools we have," she stressed.

The press conference was held to mark publication of the new risk assessment regarding the COVID-19 pandemic by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

On her part, Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director, speaking remotely said, "We are currently seeing a worrying increase in the number of COVID-19 cases detected in Europe." "Until there is a safe and effective vaccine available, rapid identification, testing, and quarantine of high-risk contacts are some of the most effective measures to reduce transmission," she said.

Ammon said it is also everyone's responsibility to maintain necessary personal protective measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying at home when feeling ill.
"The pandemic is far from over and we must not drop our guard," she added.

ECDC's risk assessment finds that the impact of the increased rates of coronavirus varies across European countries.

While in some countries the increase affects mainly younger people (15 to 49 years of age) resulting mainly in mild and asymptomatic cases, in other countries the rise leads to more deaths among the elderly. The ECDC plays a key role in assessing the threat from a scientific viewpoint. It produces rapid risk assessments and provides frequent epidemiological updates and technical support by issuing guidance on how to best respond to the outbreak in Europe.