News ID: 274644
Published: 0729 GMT September 25, 2020

EU health commissioner warns against "COVID-19 fatigue"

EU health commissioner warns against "COVID-19 fatigue"
XINHUA
Stella Kyriakides, European commissioner for health and food safety

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides warned against the "COVID-19 fatigue" witnessed in some member states, amid the worrying trend of increase in the coronavirus infections.

Addressing a video press conference in Brussels, Kyriakides noted that some EU member states are experiencing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases than during the peak in March, and in some areas the fatigue with physical distancing and disregard of norms are witnessed, Xinhua reported.

She called on the member states to roll out measures immediately and at the very first sign of potential new outbreaks. "It might be our last chance to prevent a repeat of last spring," she warned.

With the arrival of autumn and winter, Kyriakides feared a "twindemic of COVID-19 and the flu" could overburden the bloc's health systems and lead to more loss of life.

Calling for a ramp-up in responsive measures to the pandemic, Kyriakides underlined a situation "where governments feel they have no choice but to impose generalized lockdowns" must be prevented.

Joining the press conference remotely from Stockholm, Sweden, European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) Director Andrea Ammon urged observance of necessary personal protective measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying at home when feeling ill.

"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," Ammon said.

The ECDC updated its risk assessment, which shows that infection rates have increased steadily across the EU and Britain since August, and that "the measures taken have not always been sufficient to reduce or control exposure."

An effective and tailored risk communication by EU member states, taking into account cultural differences, is key to prevent another peak in contaminations, and thus another lockdown, said Ammon.

young people are often asymptomatic or get only mild symptoms, therefore they have developed a feeling of "invulnerability", said Ammon. However, the highest increase of cases has been observed in the 15-49 age group, and a tailored communication from EU member states is thus essential for them.

   
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