As millions of European citizens gear up for the festive season, the European Union’s executive commission urged member countries to keep strong anti-Covid 19 restrictions in place to avoid a post-holiday surge of coronavirus cases and deaths but stopped short of advising against travel.
The European Commission said in non-binding recommendations published Wednesday that easing pandemic-containment measures this month would jeopardize the efforts that have helped slow infections across the EU in recent weeks.
According to predictions made by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, lifting all anti-coronavirus restrictions on December 21 would result in “a subsequent increase in Covid-19 hospital admissions…as early as the first week of January 2021.”
New confirmed cases are falling steadily across Europe, where more than 300,000 people with Covid-19 have died. Until vaccines against the virus are rolled out, the EU commission is recommending prudence.
“Every 17 seconds a person loses their life due to Covid-19 in Europe,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said. “The situation may be stabilizing, but it remains delicate. Like everything else this year, end of the year festivities will be different. This year, saving lives must come before celebrations.”
EU health ministers discussed the European Commission’s strategy Wednesday as European countries famous for their skiing resorts struggled to find a common approach.