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MEP von der Leyen is pushing for the phasing out of coronavirus blockades

President of the European Commission Ursula von Der Layen.

Anadolu Agency Anadolu Agency Getty Images

LONDON – European governments must gradually remove coronavirus blocking and other social restrictions to prevent a third wave of infections, according to the European Commission president.

Europe is battling a second increase in Covid-1

9 infections since September, which has led to the reintroduction of blockades in some countries and an overall tightening of restrictions across the region.

Despite the slowdown in some countries in recent days, the numbers are still high and still do not show clear signs of ridges. Meanwhile, Europeans are considering whether they will be able to reunite with their families during the holidays.

Speaking Thursday night, EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen said “expectations must be managed”.

“We have all learned from our experience in the summer that getting out of the wave, in this case getting out of the first wave, is very difficult and that the impact of lifting measures too quickly has had a very bad effect on the epidemiological situation in the summer and autumn,” she said.

Health experts in Belgium explained that the significant increase in infections in late September and October came after the government eased many existing restrictions, such as rebuilding schools for a new term and allowing people to return to work.

“We will propose a gradual and coordinated approach to the abolition of restrictive measures. This will be very important to avoid the risk of another wave,” von der Leyen told a virtual news conference.

As of Thursday, there are more than 11 million Covid-19 infections in Europe (which includes the EU, the UK and other countries), according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. France, Spain and Italy remain the top three EU member states with the most infections. The Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia have the highest 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Von der Leyen’s comments come after positive news about the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. Both Pfizer and BioNtech, as well as Moderna vaccines, have shown high levels of efficacy and the European Commission expects them to be approved by the second half of December.

EU leaders have also begun to consider which sections of the population should be vaccinated first.

Nadia Calvino, the Spanish chief financial officer, told CNBC in front of Karen Tso at an event on Thursday that there would be no vaccines for everyone right away.

“We have to decide … which groups need to be vaccinated first in order to have the maximum impact,” she added.

However, they must also pay attention to the fact that many citizens may be against vaccination. In this context, von der Leyen also said that the EU would launch an information campaign.

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