In an attempt to address an aggressive resurgence of the coronavirus across Europe, the Commission urged member states on Wednesday to follow a single approach to Covid-19 testing, require the same passenger locator form (PLF) at all entry points and increase the use of contact-tracing and warning apps.
The announcement was made on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron announced a second national lockdown until at least the end of November starting on Friday.
The Commission is now hoping rapid antigen tests will help curb the deadly virus, which has infected thousands of people in dozens of countries across the Union.
In this direction, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would be purchasing 100 million euros worth of rapid result test kits.
“The Covid-19 situation is very serious. We must step up our EU response. Today we are launching additional measures in our fight against the virus,” she said, adding that increasing access to fast testing and preparing vaccination campaigns to facilitate safe travel were priorities.
The Commission highlighted areas that will require reinforcement in the coming period. These include improving the flow of information to allow informed decision-making; establishing more effective and rapid testing; making full use of contact-tracing and warning apps across borders; effective vaccination; clear communication to citizens; securing essential medicines and medical supplies; facilitating safe travel which includes implementing a common approach to quarantine practices, the use of single PLFs, providing accurate information to Re-open EU; and extending Green Lanes to facilitate the supply of goods.
A mobile Re-open EU app is set to launch in the coming weeks.
Referring to the “alarming” rise in Covid-19 infection rates across Europe, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides announced that in the coming month, the Commission would present actions towards a “European Health Union”.
“In the meantime, member states must improve cooperation and data sharing. Our EU surveillance system is only as strong as its weakest link,” she added.