Preparedness planning for respiratory viruses in EU Member States
Three case studies on MERS preparedness in the EU
ECDC has initiated a case study project to investigate the emergency preparedness status of the health and other sectors in EU Member States. The work has focused on preparedness for a respiratory viral pandemic, with the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) given as the specific disease of concern.
Three countries participated in this case study – England, Greece, and Spain.
This report on Preparedness planning for respiratory viruses in EU Member States is based on three case studies that provide a review of pandemic preparedness in the European Union by using the example of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The study covers three EU countries, the United Kingdom (with a focus on England), Greece, and Spain. It uses a qualitative case study methodology, including:
- a review of documents such as preparedness policies, standard operation procedures, contingency plans, risk assessment protocols and lessons learned from previous outbreaks or exercises;
- a series of interviews conducted in each country.
The summary report presents the main strengths highlighted during exploratory work in the three countries. Specifically, it takes note of the following:
- Key stakeholders perceive the level of pandemic preparedness to be adequate to cope with a viral respiratory threat such as MERS, and organisational structures, resources and capacities are in place.
- Knowledge and experience on health threats has accumulated while responding to public health events such as SARS, the A(H1N1) pandemic, MERS, and Ebola.
- Laboratory and surveillance networks are being maintained and upgraded.
- Collaboration between human and animal health sectors have well-established and proven interoperability particularly in relation with avian influenza.
The report also suggests further steps to strengthen preparedness, and inter-sectorial and cross-border collaboration. As a means of strengthening preparedness especially for serious cross-border threats, a number of possible steps are suggested:
- Sustaining public health preparedness capacity remains a key policy.
- Assessing challenges of implementing policies at the local level is important to identify areas where support may been needed.
- Interoperability of preparedness plans across health and non-health sectors needs to be ensured.
- Cross-border collaboration could be strengthened by multi-country simulation exercises. Taken financial constraints in some countries, EU support for such exercises could be a valuable investment.
Updated projections of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK
23 Nov 2020 - In May 2020, ECDC produced a set of short-term forecasts of the expected number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalised cases (subdivided into general hospital wards and intensive care units). Updated forecasts were published in September 2020. In this report we present slightly longer-term projections for each country, up until 25 December 2020.
Options for the use of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK
19 Nov 2020 - This ECDC document is intended to facilitate further discussions between Member States with the aim of reaching agreement on the criteria to be used for the selection of rapid antigen tests, as well as scenarios and settings during which it is appropriate to use rapid antigen tests. This document is also intended to support clinical validations of rapid antigen tests.
Contact tracing: public health management of persons, including healthcare workers, who have had contact with COVID-19 cases in the European Union – third update
18 Nov 2020 - This document aims to help public health authorities in EU/EEA countries and the UK in their tracing and management of persons, including healthcare workers, who have had contact with COVID-19 cases.