The situation on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and EHMA is actively monitoring the updates from local, national and international officials.
What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that
cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe disease.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus through inhaling small droplets from infected people who cough or sneeze or through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching nose, mouth or eyes.
Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but for some, it can be more severe. The symptoms include a
combination of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, and tiredness.
Illness due to infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. It mostly affects the elderly and those with other underlying conditions. Please note, even if you have mild or no symptoms, you can still contaminate others.
If you have symptoms, call the emergency number or phone the nearest emergency department and describe your symptoms. They will tell you the procedure to follow.
Do not go to the doctor or hospital. You could infect other people.
COVID-19 and the EU
The EU council and member states are taking the necessary steps to act accordingly. On 10 March 2020, they identified 4 priorities in the disease response:
- Limiting the spread of the virus with measures that are based on science and medical advice and that are proportionate to the situation in which they are taken.
- Provision of medical equipment. The Commission will identify initiatives to prevent shortages, particularly for masks and respirators.
- Promotion of research, including for a vaccine. Emphasis was placed on reinforcing research efforts.
- Tackling socio-economic consequences. The Union and its member states will particularly address the impact on liquidity, on support for SME’s and specific affected sectors, and their employees.
On Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19, a pandemic. Different member states have taken measures, such as closing schools, universities and restraining some or most business activities in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. The Commission and ECDC also released an information leaflet for the citizens.
On March 19, 2020, the European Commission created the first ever an rescEU stockpile of medical equipment.
On April 8, 2020, the Commission called on Member States to ensure that Europeans have access to essential medicines during the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has highlighted significant challenges in ensuring the supply of the critical medicines needed and the impact such an outbreak can have on the supply chain of medicines in the EU. Their guidelines focus on the rational supply, allocation and use of vital medicines to treat coronavirus patients as well as medicines which may be at risk of shortage due to the pandemic. The proposed actions should allow for a more coordinated approach across the EU, preserving the integrity of the Single Market whilst protecting public health. Read more here.
Updates on the latest information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the following websites:
For more information:
Research and Innovation
Through the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission has very rapidly mobilised new funds for research through two special calls for research projects that will address the full spectrum of needs: understanding the disease, diagnosis, vaccines, treatment and preparedness. More information here.
On March 20, 2020, the WHO announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to find out if any can treat infections with the new coronavirus for the dangerous respiratory disease. It’s an unprecedented effort—an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic. The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients can participate. More information here.
COVID-19: From viral to containment
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, EHMA is now launching a new webinar series, “COVID-19: From viral to containment“, on health management and the COVID-19 emergency.
Our aim is to bring together all the stakeholders involved in health management to tackle some of the most important issues related to this global crisis. Topics will include management of primary care during the outbreak, recommendations for hospitals on outbreak control, internal procurement, and more.
The second webinar “Health Systems and Health Literacy in the time of COVID-19“, took place on Thursday, April 23, at 12.30 PM Brussels time with guest speaker Dr. Kristine Sørensen, President of the International Health Literacy Association and Prof. Stephan Van den Broucke, Professor of Health Psychology of the University Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
The third webinar, “Hospitals & COVID-19: where are we succeeding and failing?”, took place on Wednesday, May 6, at 12.30 PM Brussels time with guest speakers Dr Alexandre Lourenço, Associação Portuguesa de Administradores Hospitalares (APAH), EHMA Board Member, and Markku Mäkijärvi, Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS).
The third webinar, “European Hospitals & COVID-19: reacting and adapting“, took place on Thursday, May 21, at 12.30 PM Brussels time with guest speakers Prof. Federico Lega, EHMA President, Professor of Health Administration at Milan University, Italy
- #OpenWHO, the free, multilingual, open-access learning platform for health emergencies by WHO, has opened a course that provides a general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including #COVID19, risk communication, #Ebola, infection prevention & much more. More information here.