Consolidated Annual Activity Report 2020

ECDC corporate
Publication series: Annual Report of the Director

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Consolidated Annual Activity Report. Stockholm: ECDC; 2021

This report provides an overview of the Centre’s accomplishments for 2020 and a summary of the Centre’s financial and administrative operations.

Executive summary

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most extensive public health event (PHE) ECDC has had to respond to since the agency became operational in 2005. In 2020, supporting the EU COVID-19 response became the dominant activity of the Agency, consuming most of the Centre ’s time and resources. ECDC started operating at PHE level 2, acute phase on 31 January 2020 and continues to operate in this phase at the time of writing.

The Centre had to cancel or postpone 35% of the outputs initially planned for 2020 , however it achieved 90% of the outputs from the additional COVID 19 work programme approved by the Management Board in May 2020 (for details see Annex I Core business statistics 2020

ECDC worked towards establishing fit for purpose surveillance in countries and at the EU level to be able to optimally tackle the COVID 19 pandemic and prepare for routine surveillance of the disease. It provided high quality, up to date, and consolidated evidence to Member States and the Commission through planned outputs, or in response to stakeholders’ requests. The Centre assisted the European Commission and Member States with laboratory related support and expanded testing contributed to strengthening Member States preparedness by establishing operational indicators and supported the assessment of health services surge capacity.

Alongside the planned work, the Public Health Event roster, in which over 100 ECDC staff members were directly involved, produced 24 COVID 19 related risk assessments and responded to an exceptionally high number of requests from stakeholders (European Commission, Member States and the media). The number of downloads of rapid risk assessments increase d by 1 086% compared with 2019. The ECDC website saw an unprecedented amount of traffic in 2020. Traffic peaked in March, when more than eight million page views were recorded in one month, nearly as many page views as the website had recorded in total over the previous eight years. In September, in response to a request by the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, ECDC started delivering weekly COVID 19 policy briefs.

In October 2020, in support of the Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID 19 pandemic pandemic, ECDC developed a weekly publication of an EU Member State map, showing the risk levels across the regions in Europe using a traffic light system.

Towards the end of 2020, ECDC provided effective support to vaccination strategies related work at EU and Member State level. At the same time, the Centre actively contributed to the assessment of the recent emergence of COVID 19 variants of potential concern.