Doubts about Europe’s ability to fight Covid-19

Doubts about Europe's ability to fight Covid-19 2

On March 6, European Union (EU) health ministers held an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss how to respond to Covid-19, in the context that the number of nCoV infections in the EU has increased by more than 5,500 in more than two years.

Observers say that anti-epidemic measures in Europe so far have not been truly effective.

Medical staff in protective clothing at a hospital in the city of Brescia, northern Italy.

Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said the shortage of masks, protective equipment and disinfectants was a `really worrying` problem.

Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner in charge of the internal market, last week issued a statement asking member states to provide an assessment of the impact of the epidemic on supply chains once a month.

Europe could also face drug shortages as large quantities of pharmaceuticals are imported from China and India, John Ryan, the EC’s┬áDirector of Public Health, warned on March 5, less than 24

Many European countries actually fell into a shortage of drugs even before the outbreak, especially respiratory drugs, according to a report by the EU Pharmaceutical Association (PGEU).

Although the EU is trying to overcome the epidemic, the virus has had a profound impact on the region’s daily activities.

According to experts, if the EU is not fully prepared for the epidemic, this is not entirely the bloc’s fault.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides called on the bloc’s members to `share information with the EU and with each other on the measures that have been adopted and planned to be implemented in their countries`.

`We will be better protected if we act together,` she emphasized.

Medical screening measures are also currently inconsistent in Europe.

One of the reasons many European countries do not restrict travel to the countries most affected by the epidemic is because of international legal regulations on how countries respond to epidemics, according to Dr. Osman

Known as the International Health Regulations (IHR), the legal framework is intended to encourage countries to report new risks to international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), who then

`Countries that report early will be protected from travel and trade restrictions and other socioeconomic impacts,` Dar said.

He also added that comparing Europe’s health system with other countries and regions is unfair.

Europe’s strong public health system helps countries in the region cope with risks better than elsewhere, but nCoV has really caught Europe and the world off guard.

`We need to limit the spread of nCoV because the global health system is not ready,` said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Emergency Program.

This is especially true in Italy, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has admitted that a hospital in the northern town of Codogno improperly handled the area’s first case of nCoV infection, contributing to the spread of the virus.

Italy has taken a number of strict measures to contain the virus, including blockading towns in the north and closing schools across the country.

Many other European countries are slowly following suit.

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