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EU von der Leyen calls for the gradual abolition of coronavirus lock-in

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.

Anadolu Agency Anadolu Agency Getty Images

LONDON – European governments should gradually lift coronavirus lockdown and other social restrictions to prevent a third wave of infections, according to the President of the European Commission.

Europe has struggled with another rise in Covid-1

9 infections since September, leading to the reintroduction of lockdowns in certain countries and an overall intensification of restrictions throughout the region.

Despite a slowdown in cases in some countries in recent days, the number is still high and does not yet show clear signs of a cresting. Meanwhile, Europeans are considering whether they will be able to reunite with their families during the holiday season.

EU-Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday night that “expectations must be managed.”

“We have all learned from our experiences over the summer that the exit from a wave, in this case the exit from the first wave, is very difficult and that the impact of lifting measures too quickly has had a very bad impact on the epidemiological situation summer and fall, “she said.

Health experts in Belgium have explained that the marked increase in infections in late September and October came after the government eased many of the restrictions that had been in place, such as reopening schools to a new period and allowing people to return to work.

“We will put forward a proposal for a gradual and coordinated approach to the abolition of containment measures. This will be very important to avoid the risk of another wave,” von der Leyen said at a virtual press conference.

As of Thursday, there have been more than 11 million Covid-19 infections in Europe (which include the EU, the UK and other nations), according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. France, Spain and Italy remain the top three EU Member States with the most infections. The Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia have the highest 14-day cumulative number of cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants.

Von der Leyen’s comments come after positive news about the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Both Pfizer and BioNtech as well as Moderna’s vaccines have presented high levels of efficacy, and the European Commission expects these to be approved by the second half of December.

EU leaders have also begun to consider which sections of the population should be vaccinated first.

Nadia Calvino, Spain’s chief financial officer, told CNBC’s Karen Tso at a panel event on Thursday that there will not be vaccines for everyone right away.

“We have to decide … which groups need to be vaccinated first to get maximum effect,” she added.

But they also need to address the issue that many citizens may be opposed to being vaccinated. In this context, von der Leyen also said that the EU would launch an information campaign.

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