EU to finance with €220m a safe cross-border transfer of patients
In November the Commission will launch a pilot for EU-wide passenger locator formEuropost , Brussels
The Commission is making €220m available to finance a safe cross-border transfer of patients where it is needed. It is in response of the serious situation of rising cases of infections, hospitalisations and deaths across Europe during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
During their video conference on Thursday evening, EU leaders discussed the situation with the Covid-19 and the need to strengthen the coordination in fighting the virus. They focused on testing, tracing and on vaccines.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council commented after the meeting that testing and tracing policies and vaccines are crucial not only in the short term, but also in the mid and the longer term. We shared our experiences and discussed how to help each other, he said noting that the hospitals and health workers are again under pressure and many leaders have announced lockdowns and restrictions.
On testing, tracing and quarantine, leaders agreed that these are key to limiting the spread of the virus and will help better control the situation. How to advance a common approach to the mutual recognition, deployment and use of rapid tests as to lessen the negative impact on free movement and on the functioning of the single market, was also debated.
Also on the agenda was the initiative on interoperability between apps the Commission recently presented and work on a common Passenger Locator Form, which would also facilitate tracing. Heads of state and prime ministers discussed as well the possibility of harmonising the duration of quarantines.
We agreed that we need to have quick validation at EU level of the new tests, and this refers mainly to the rapid antigen tests that are currently being developed, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said at the joint press conference with Charles Michel. She also stressed she informed leaders that the Commission will launch a pilot for the passenger locator form in November with the aim to have such form on the European level by the end of the year.
Concerning the vaccines and vaccination von der Leyen outlines three priorities. The first is ensuring validation of vaccines speedily and the second - to ensure indeed the fair distribution of vaccines to EU countries. I have good news, EC President stated adding that the Member States will all get vaccines at the same time and at the same conditions, based on their share of the EU population they have.
She also underlined that the whole infrastructure for vaccination must be ready, before going go into the vaccination. This is why we ask the Member States to send in their national vaccination plans, to make sure that they are all fit for purpose, she explained.