Coronavirus in Europe, COVID-19 is a severe public health emergency for EU citizens, societies and economies with infections in all Member States. It is also a major economic shock to the European Union. EU Commission presented an immediate response to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, centred on a European coordinated response.
EU use all the instruments at its disposal to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic, in particular:
The Coronavirus pandemic is testing us all. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
”This is not only an unprecedented challenge for our healthcare systems, but also a major shock for our economies. The important economic package announced today deal with the situation of today. We stand ready to do more as the situation evolves. We will do whatever is necessary to support the Europeans and the European Economy” said EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. On 30 January 2020, the WHO Director-General declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
Countries around the globe have heightened their surveillance to quickly diagnose potential new cases of 2019-nCoV. More people infected with this virus have since been identified in China, as well as cases imported into other countries, including in the European Region.
Countries in the European Region are encouraged to continue preparing in case this new virus is imported, in line with the International Health Regulations (2005). WHO has published guidance for all countries, including how to monitor for sick people, test samples, treat patients, control infection in health centres, maintain the right supplies and communicate with the public.
World Health Organization in Europe
WHO EU Region April 05, 2020 Total confirmed cases: 622.251 Total confirmed deaths: 46.430
European solidarity at its best
The European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the outbreak of COVID-19. EU is taking resolute action to reinforce public health sectors and mitigate the socio-economic impact of Coronavirus in Europe. European Union is mobilising all means to help Member States to coordinate their national responses. EU institutions are providing objective information about the spread of the virus and effective efforts to contain it. President von der Leyen has established a Coronavirus response team at political level to coordinate our response to the pandemic.
Coronavirus Europe Response
During these times of crisis, across the European Union, countries, regions and cities are stretching out a helping hand to neighbours and assistance is given to those most in need: donations of protective equipment such as masks, cross-border treatments of ill patients and bringing stranded citizens home. This is European solidarity at its best.
Find out what the European Institutions are doing to mitigate the impact of the Covid19 outbreak, protect people and the economy and promote solidarity.
1. Slowing the spread of the virus
To help limit the transmission of the virus in Europe and beyond, the EU has closed its external borders to non-essential travel, while ensuring essential goods keep moving across the EU through the introduction of green lanes. Additional resources are foreseen for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which provides rapid risk assessments and epidemiological updates on the Coronavirus Europe outbreak.
2. Providing medical equipment
EU-countries have speedy access to the first ever RescEU Coronavirus Europe stockpile of medical equipment, such as ventilators and protective masks, under the Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition, the EU has set up a huge international tender allowing member states to make joint purchases of equipment and drugs.
3. Promoting research
The EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme is funding 18 research projects and 140 teams across Europe to help find a vaccine quickly against Covid-19. The aim is to improve Coronavirus Europe diagnostics, preparedness, clinical management and treatment.
More than 10,000 Europeans stranded around the world by the outbreak have been returned home thanks to the EU Civil Protection mechanism.
6. Boosting European solidarity
The European Parliament has backed new rules allowing member states to request financial assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund to cover health emergencies. €800 million will be made available for member states this year to fight the Coronavirus Europe pandemic.
7. Supporting the economy
The European Central Bank is providing €750 billion to relieve government debt during the crisis, as well as €120 billion in quantitative easing and €20 billion in debt purchases. In addition, MEPs voted to make €37 billion from existing EU structural funds available to EU countries to tackle the coronavirus crisis and support healthcare, businesses and workers.
8. Protecting jobs
To ensure employees can keep their job when companies run out of work due to the coronavirus crisis, the Commission has proposed the concept of state-supported short time work (SURE).
9. Safeguarding the internet
With millions of people forced to stay at home, the EU has asked Netflix, Facebook and YouTube to reduce streaming quality to avoid overloading the web. This allows everyone to use the internet, be it for work or for leisure.
10. Protecting the environment and airlines
Parliament has supported the Commission’s proposal to temporarily stop empty “ghost flights”. EU do not oblige airlines to operate their planned take-off and landing slots and keep them for the following season. The EU is ending unnecessary emissions and helping airlines adjust to lower demand.