Questions and answers on COVID-19
Current situation as of June 2023
Since it first appeared in 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread globally, infecting millions of individuals worldwide. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of COVID-19 constituted a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). On 11 March 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Since then, the global rollout of vaccines from 2021 has dramatically reduced the burden of COVID-19 even as new, more transmissible variants have emerged.
On 4 May 2023, the WHO Director-General determined that COVID-19 is no longer a PHEIC. He highlighted that whilst there are higher levels of population immunity and fewer hospitalisations and deaths, there are still uncertainties related to how the SARS-CoV-2 might evolve.
As of June 2023, SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate in the EU/EEA with varying intensity. In the past 12 months, there have been waves of infection around every two to three months, with an overall downward trend in the height of the associated peaks in reported cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions, and deaths.
ECDC continues to monitor for the emergence of new variants of concern, assess immunity in the population as well as trends in cases, hospitalisations and deaths, following the end of the PHEIC.
Q & A: Basic facts
Learn more about COVID-19, how it spreads, the virus, when people are infectious, and how it compares with the flu.
Q & A: Prevention
Learn how you can prevent COVID-19 with vaccination, physical distancing, washing and sanitising hands, and wearing face masks.
Q & A: Vaccines
Learn about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and safety, herd immunity and breakthrough infections.
Q & A: Current situation
Information on the current situation for COVID-19 and how ECDC is taking action.
Q & A: Children and the role of schools
Information on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among children in school settings.