To prevent a third wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, government in Europe should ease business and social restrictions and lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the virus in a gradual manner, cautioned the president of the European Commission.
Since September, Europe has been hit by a second wave of Covid-19 infections prompting governments in some countries to impose fresh set of restrictions and lockdowns in while there has been an enhancement in social and business restrictions all across Europe.
The number of infections still remains high and there are no clear sing of a cresting of the infection, even though in recent days, some countries have witnessed a slowdown in infection cases.
And even in this situation there are hopes among Europeans that they would be able to gather their families in time for the festive period.
“Expectations have to be managed”, said EU’s Ursula von der Leyen speaking to the media on Thursday evening.
“We have all learned from our experience in the summer that the exit from a wave, in this case the exit from the first wave, is very difficult and that the impact of lifting measures too hastily has had a very bad impact on the epidemiological situation in summer and fall,” she said.
There was a significant rise in the number of infections in late September and October happened after easing of many of the restrictions which had been placed by governments, explained health experts in Belgium, and citied the reopening of schools for a new term and opening up places of work, factories and offices.
“We will make a proposal for a gradual and coordinated approach to lifting containment measures. This will be very important to avoid the risk of yet another wave,” von der Leyen said at a virtual press conference.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 11 million Covid-19 infections in Europe were reported as of Thursday, including the EU, the United Kingdom and other countries. The three EU member states that reported the highest number of infections were France, Spain and Italy. The highest 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants was seen in the Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia.
The caution sounded by Von der Leyen came after there was very positive news on the Covid-19 vaccine front. High levels of efficacy of their Covid-19 vaccines were reported by both Pfizer as well as Moderna and it is expected by the European Commission that the vaccines will get approval for mass usage by the second half of December.
Plans for what parts of the population should be vaccinated first are currently being drawn by EU leaders.
There will not be vaccines for everyone straight away, said Nadia Calvino, Spain’s finance chief, said in a television interview on Thursday.
“We need to decide … which are the groups which should be vaccinated first in order to have maximum impact,” she added.
But leaders also will need to take into consideration that some sections of citizens could be against getting a vaccine shot.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)