Health officials in several EU countries have warned that their hospitals are close to capacity and have issued alarms that more cooperation is needed to ensure that facilities are not flooded.
“However, if we do not take urgent action, the spread of the virus will overwhelm our medical system.”
Von der Leyen made comments at a meeting with EU leaders, at which she proposed a series of measures to simplify and centralize the EU’s response to Covid-19, including using tests and tracking applications Procedures and distribution of vaccines.
The head of the EU stated that the EU is stepping up its efforts to obtain and verify vaccines, and EU member states have agreed to “fairly distribute” the vaccine to each state.
She said: “Based on their share of the EU’s population, all member states will get the vaccine at the same time and under the same conditions.”
The EU will now also conduct a rolling review of pharmaceutical companies. When conducting trials, pharmaceutical companies will share faster “step-by-step” updates with the EU.
In terms of testing, the group is working to verify the rapid antigen test, which can provide faster results than the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test currently used. In addition, the EU aims to mutually recognize the test results of the entire EU.
It will also try to share data collected through tracking applications. 22 of the 27 member states have developed or are developing applications, and since Monday, 3 have been connected to the new European gateway. The other 19 hope to join in November.
Von der Leyen stated that the group has downloaded about 50 million applications, but that is not enough.
She said: “We need to fully cover the EU.”
The EU’s efforts to concentrate its response measures were criticized at the beginning of the outbreak for lack of coordination in the region. A hard-hit country like Italy begged the leaders of the group for support and turned to China for medical equipment.
At the time, some EU governments banned the export of medical supplies in the region (which is a free trade zone) to ensure that they provide enough food for their people, while others were forced to compete for limited personal protective equipment and ventilators.
Von der Leyen called for vigilance as the region strives to balance economic and social life with the elimination of a radical second wave.
She said: “I know how tired and worried everyone is. We want to know when we can get rid of this crisis. But now is the time for all of us to be patient, determined and disciplined.”
“Wearing masks, avoiding crowds, avoiding close contact, and avoiding closed spaces with poor ventilation are key. Simply doing this will greatly help us in our work. In this way, we will overcome this virus together.