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EU moving away from emergency phase of pandemic

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, speaks with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, left, and European Commissioner for European Green Deal Frans Timmermans during the weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool Photo via AP)

The European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union, announced on Wednesday that the bloc would move away from its emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a statement about the change, the commission still called upon the EU’s member countries to increase vaccination, monitoring COVID-19, testing, travel rules and vaccines and treatments as the bloc transitions to a new phase. 

“We are entering a new phase of the pandemic, as we move from emergency mode to a more sustainable management of COVID-19,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “Yet, we must remain vigilant. Infection numbers are still high in the EU and many people are still dying from COVID-19 worldwide.” 

“Moreover, new variants can emerge and spread fast. But we know the way forward,” she added. ”We need to further step-up vaccination and boosting, and targeted testing — and we need to continue to coordinate our responses closely in the EU.”

Following global COVID-19 spikes seen earlier this year amid the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, Europe has seen a sharp decrease in cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. 

In the U.S., President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that the country had moved “out of the pandemic phase” with COVID-19.

“We don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now,” he said during an interview with PBS.

“So, if you’re saying if we are out of the pandemic phase in this country? We are,” Fauci added.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for declaring a pandemic’s start and end. 

“As many countries reduce testing, WHO is receiving less and less information about transmission and sequencing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference Tuesday.

“This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution,” he added.

Tags Anthony Fauci Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Ursula von der Leyen

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