EU must ease COVID-19 curbs slowly to avoid new wave, chief executive says

By John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union must only lift coronavirus restrictions slowly and gradually to avoid another wave of infections, the head of the bloc's executive said on Thursday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke after the 27 national leaders discussed stepping up joint testing efforts in the bloc, doling out vaccines and coordinating easing lockdowns as a second wave of the pandemic weighs on Europe.

Reuters November 20, 2020 04:10:32 IST
EU must ease COVID-19 curbs slowly to avoid new wave, chief executive says

COVID-19 curbs slowly to avoid new wave, chief executive says" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/11-2020/20/2020-11-19T210415Z_1_LYNXMPEGAI1T7_RTROPTP_2_EU-SUMMIT-CORONAVIRUS.jpg" alt="EU must ease COVID19 curbs slowly to avoid new wave chief executive says" width="300" height="225" />

By John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union must only lift coronavirus restrictions slowly and gradually to avoid another wave of infections, the head of the bloc's executive said on Thursday.

Ursula von der Leyen spoke after the 27 national leaders discussed stepping up joint testing efforts in the bloc, doling out vaccines and coordinating easing lockdowns as a second wave of the pandemic weighs on Europe.

"We have all learned from the experience in the summer that the exit from a wave ... is very difficult and that ... lifting measures too hastily has had a very bad impact on the epidemiological situation in summer and fall," she said.

"Therefore, this time expectations have to be managed. 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."

Europe has had about 11.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 280,000 people have died, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The pandemic has also thrust the EU into its deepest recession.

"We need to learn past lessons and be cautious when we lift restrictions. It should be gradual and progressive. We all want to celebrate the end of the year holidays, but safely. Let's ring in the new year safely," said Charles Michel, chairman of the EU leaders' talks.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the bloc needed a joint strategy for winter travel to avoid "a third 'Christmas' wave".

VACCINES

Von der Leyen said her Commission was broadening its search of a vaccine through talks with Moderna and Novavax .

"And we are working on a vaccination campaign to support member states in the communication on the importance of vaccines. It is self-protection and it is solidarity," she added.

Michel said the number of people sceptical of vaccination was growing in the EU and that the bloc would launch a campaign to convince them to change their minds. He said he hoped the bloc would get vaccines in 2021.

"Vaccination priorities are similar in most member states, first medical staff, then vulnerable persons," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists after the virtual EU leaders' gathering.

(Additional reporting by Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Thomas Escritt and Sabine Siebold, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Grant McCool)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening
Business

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening

By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The explosive surge in U.S. coronavirus cases this fall has left a question hanging: When will the economy take its own turn for the worse

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome
Business

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome

FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The heads of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank welcomed the encouraging results in trials of a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus but stressed that the economic outlook will remain uncertain. Fed chair Jay Powell and ECB President Christine Lagarde said the economy was still in for a tough time even if the development of a potential vaccine by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE was reason for some optimism further ahead

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months
Business

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months

By Sumita Layek (Reuters) - India's fuel consumption in October registered its first year-on-year increase since February, as slowing coronavirus cases and increased mobility accelerated an economic recovery, data showed on Thursday.