Connect with us

coronavirus

No lockdown planned for Paris as severe COVID-19 cases hit three-month high

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

France is not planning to put the Paris region into lockdown even though the number of people with COVID-19 in intensive care is at its highest since November, public health director Jerome Salomon said on Tuesday (9 March), write Benoit Van Overstraeten and Antony Paone.

Medical authorities in the Paris region, which accounts for about one-sixth of France’s population, ordered hospitals on Monday to cancel 40% of their regular activities to make space for critical COVID-19 patients.

But Salomon told RTL radio: “A lockdown in the greater Paris region is not on the agenda.

Advertisement

“Lockdown is a last resort measure that would be submitted to the government and the president if we were under the impression the hospital system could not cope,” he said.

The number of people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 in France reached a 14-1/2-week-high on Monday at 3,849. The figure was almost 1,000 for the Paris region.

At Melun Hospital Centre, about 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Paris, staff said they were at full stretch trying to monitor all the COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit.

Advertisement

“With intensive care beds, in our region, and in certain other regions, we’re starting to be close to capacity,” said Dr. Moncef Monchi, head of the intensive care unit.

In one of the intensive care bays at the hospital on Monday (8 March), Dr Esther Mbakallu was intubating a patient under sedation - inserting a breathing tube that will pump extra oxygen into his airway. She said his condition had worsened so he needed mechanical help to breathe.

“He was scared,” she said of the patient before he was sedated to have the tube inserted. “There are rumours going around that patients who are intubated die, so he had that apprehension. I reassured him.”

coronavirus

Coronavirus: 200th EU disinfection robot delivered to European hospital, a further 100 confirmed

Published

on

On 21 September, the Commission delivered the 200th disinfection robot – to Consorci Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí hospital in Barcelona. The robots, donated by the Commission, help sanitize COVID-19 patient rooms and are part of the Commission's action to supply hospitals across the EU to help them cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Further to these initial 200 robots announced in November last year, the Commission secured the purchase an additional 100, bringing the total donations to 300.

A Europe fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President for Margrethe Vestager, said: “Assisting member states overcome the challenges of the pandemic continues to be a number one priority and these donations – a very tangible form of support – are a prime example of what can be achieved. This is European solidarity in action and I am pleased to see the Commission can go the extra mile in donating an additional 100 disinfection robots to hospitals in need.”

Twenty-five disinfection robots have already been working night and day across Spain since February to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly every EU Member State has now received at least one disinfection robot, which disinfects a standard patient room in under 15 minutes, alleviating hospital staff and offering them and their patients greater protection against potential infection. This action is made possible through the Emergency Support Instrument and the devices are supplied by Danish company UVD robots, which won an emergency procurement tender.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

coronavirus

Coronavirus: Commission signs contract for the supply of a monoclonal antibody treatment

Published

on

The Commission has signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for the supply of a monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus patients. This marks the latest development in this first portfolio of five promising therapeutics announced by the Commission under the EU COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy in June 2021. The medicine is currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency. 18 member states have signed up to the joint procurement for the purchase of up to 220,000 treatments.

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “Over 73% of the EU adult population is now fully vaccinated, and this rate will still increase. But vaccines cannot be our only response to COVID-19. People still continue to be infected and fall ill. We need to continue our work to prevent illness with vaccines and at the same time ensure that we can treat it with therapeutics. With today's signature, we conclude our third procurement and deliver on our commitment under the EU Therapeutics Strategy to facilitate access to state-of-the-art medicines for COVID-19 patients.”

While vaccination remains the strongest asset both against the virus and its variants, therapeutics play a critical role in the COVID-19 response. They help to save lives, speed up recovery time, reduce the length of hospitalisation and ultimately ease the burden of health care systems.

Advertisement

The product from Eli Lilly is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab and etesevimab) for the treatment of coronavirus patients who do not require oxygen but are at high risk of severe COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins conceived in the laboratory that mimic the immune system's ability to fight the coronavirus. They fuse to the spike protein and thus block the virus's attachment to the human cells.

Under the EU Joint Procurement Agreement, the European Commission has concluded until now nearly 200 contracts for different medical countermeasures with a cumulative value of over €12 billion. Under the joint procurement framework contract concluded with Eli Lilly, member states can purchase the combination product bamlanivimab and etesevimab if and when needed, once it has received either a conditional marketing authorisation at EU level from the European Medicines Agency or an emergency use authorisation in the member state concerned.

Background

Advertisement

Today's joint procurement contract follows the contract signed with Roche for the product REGN-COV2, a combination of Casirivimab and Imdevimab, on 31 March 2021 and the contract with Glaxo Smith Kline on 27 July 2021 for the supply of sotrovimab (VIR-7831), developed in collaboration with VIR biotechnology.

The EU Strategy on COVID-19 Therapeutics, adopted on 6 May 2021, aims to build a broad portfolio of COVID-19 therapeutics with the goal of having three new therapeutics available by October 2021 and possibly two more by the end of the year. It covers the full lifecycle of medicines from research, development, selection of promising candidates, fast regulatory approval, manufacturing and deployment to final use. It will also coordinate, scale-up and ensure that the EU acts together in ensuring access to therapeutics via joint procurements.

The Strategy forms part of a strong European Health Union, using a coordinated EU approach to better protect the health of our citizens, equip the EU and its Member States to better prevent and address future pandemics, and improve resilience of Europe's health systems. Focusing on the treatment of patients with COVID-19, the Strategy works alongside the successful EU Vaccines Strategy, through which safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 have been authorised for use in the EU to prevent and reduce transmission of cases, as well as hospitalisation rates and deaths caused by the disease.

On 29 June 2021, the strategy delivered its first outcome, with the announcement of five candidate therapeutics that could soon be available to treat patients across the EU. The five products are in an advanced stage of development and have a high potential to be among the three new COVID-19 therapeutics to receive authorization by October 2021, the target set under the strategy, provided the final data demonstrate their safety, quality and efficacy.

Global co-operation on therapeutics is crucial and a key component of our strategy. The Commission is committed to working together with international partners on COVID-19 therapeutics and make them available globally. The Commission is also exploring how to support the enabling environment for manufacturing health products, while strengthening research capacity in partner countries around the globe.

More information

EU Therapeutics Strategy

Coronavirus response

Safe COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans

Continue Reading

coronavirus

SURE: Report confirms instrument's success in protecting jobs and incomes

Published

on

The Commission has published its second report on the impact of SURE, the €100 billion instrument designed to protect jobs and incomes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report finds that SURE has been successful in cushioning the severe socio-economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. National labour market measures supported by SURE are estimated to have reduced unemployment by almost 1.5 million people in 2020. SURE has helped to effectively contain the increase in unemployment in the beneficiary member states during the crisis. Thanks to SURE and other support measures, this increase in unemployment has turned out to be significantly smaller than during the global financial crisis, despite the much larger fall in GDP.

SURE is a crucial element of the EU's comprehensive strategy to protect citizens and mitigate the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides financial support in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Member States to finance national short-time work schemes, similar measures to preserve jobs and support incomes ­ – notably for the self-employed, and some health-related measures.

Advertisement

A total of €94.3 billion of financial assistance has so far been approved to 19 member states, of which €89.6bn has been disbursed. SURE can still provide almost €6bn of financial assistance to member states out of the total envelope of €100bn.

Main findings

Advertisement

SURE has supported approximately 31 million people in 2020, of which 22.5 million are employees and 8.5 million self-employed. This represents more than one quarter of the total number of people employed in the 19 beneficiary Member States.

Moreover, around 2.5 million firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have benefitted from SURE, allowing them to retain workers.

Given the EU's strong credit rating, beneficiary Member States have saved an estimated €8.2 billion in interest payments thanks to SURE.

The Commission raised a further €36 billion across three issuances since the time of the drafting of the first report in March 2021. These issuances were largely oversubscribed. All funds have been raised as social bonds, giving investors confidence that their money goes towards a social purpose, and making the EU the world's largest issuer of social bonds.

On 4 March 2021, the Commission presented a Recommendation on Effective Active Support to Employment following the COVID-19 crisis (EASE). It outlines a strategic approach to gradually transition between emergency measures taken to preserve jobs during the pandemic and new measures needed for a job-rich recovery. With EASE, the Commission promotes job creation and job-to-job transitions, including towards the digital and green sectors, and invites Member States to use available EU funds.

An Economy that Works for People Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “The SURE scheme has proven its worth and continues to fulfil its purpose. We created it during an emergency to prop up people's incomes, protect their families and preserve their livelihoods when they needed it most. Its success can be measured by the figures in today's report, showing that SURE managed to keep many millions of Europeans in a job during the worst of the crisis. It has played a major part in Europe's overall response, for which we must also thank national governments. As we exit the pandemic, our approach should gradually focus on promoting quality job creation and easing job-to-job transitions through training and other measures.”

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “The SURE instrument has proven to be both innovative and indispensable. It is a shining example of a Europe that protects and works for people. The report published today states that making finance available to Member States through SURE helped avoid up to 1.5 million more people entering unemployment in 2020. SURE helped to stem this flow. Now, we must act equally resolutely and quickly to put in place active labour market policies for a job-rich recovery in the changing labour market.”

Background

The Commission proposed the SURE Regulation on 2 April 2020, as part of the EU's initial response to the pandemic. It was adopted by the Council on 19 May 2020, and became available after all member states signed the guarantee agreements on 22 September 2020. The first disbursement took place five weeks after SURE became available.

Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: “It is reassuring that the money raised on the market under SURE has helped EU countries achieved impressive results in a short period of time. For the Commission, SURE has set the scene for borrowing under the much bigger NextGenerationEU recovery instrument. With €49 billion disbursed to 13 EU countries so far and a few billion to EU budget programmes, NextGenerationEU is also making sure the recovery works for all.”

Today's report is the second report on SURE addressed to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) and the Employment Committee (EMCO). Under Article 14 of the SURE Regulation, the Commission is legally required to issue such a report within 6 months of the day that the instrument became available. The first report was published on 22 March 2021. Subsequent reports will follow every six months for as long as SURE remains available.

Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “This second report on the impact of SURE confirms the value of this unprecedented instrument of solidarity. The figures speak for themselves: 1.5 million fewer unemployed, 31 million workers and 2.5 million firms supported, and more than €8 billion in interest savings. I am proud of the European success story that is SURE: a success story upon which we must build!”

The Commission is issuing social bonds to finance the SURE instrument and using the proceeds to provide back-to-back loans to beneficiary member states. Further information on these bonds, along with a full overview of the funds raised under each issuance and the beneficiary member states, is available online here.

More information

Second report on the implementation of SURE

SURE website

Factsheet on SURE

SURE Regulation

EU as a borrower website

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending