Today, the European Commission launched an advisory panel on COVID-19 composed of epidemiologists and virologists from different Member States to formulate EU guidelines on science-based and coordinated risk management measures. This panel, which was created following a mandate by EU Member States, will be chaired by the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and co-chaired by Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
President von der Leyen said: “The coronavirus is rapidly changing our lives and societies. All governments have to take well-informed and appropriate decisions for the people of Europe every day. That is why scientific expertise and good advice is now more valuable than ever. I am very grateful to all the high-profile experts on the panel for putting their knowledge at the service of the community.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Together with our public health professionals, clinical practitioners, epidemiologists and virologists are at the forefront of the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Time and science matter if we want to win this fight. This panel will play an important role in the EU’s medical response to the pandemic. Its work will complement and capitalise on the work of the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).”
The panel will provide advice to the Commission on the following:
- Formulation of response measures to be addressed to all Member States in line with the different stages of the epidemic in the EU as a whole and taking into account particular Member State contexts;
- Identification and mitigation of significant gaps, inconsistencies or inadequacies in measures taken or to be taken to contain and manage the spread of COVID-19, including in clinical management and treatment, and overcome its impact;
- Prioritisation of health care, civil protection and other resources as well as support measures to be organised or coordinated at EU level;
- Subsequently, recommendation of policy measures for addressing and mitigating long-term consequences of COVID-19.
The panel is composed of seven members from six Member States who will act in their personal capacities and independently. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) will participate as observers.
The members will deliberate at least twice a week – if not more – through videoconferencing, based on questions put forward by the Commission or on their own initiative.
The panel’s first official meeting will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 18 March. The Commission will publish the group’s agenda and documents online on the panel’s page to ensure transparent, coordinated communications around the EU’s response to tackling the spread of the epidemic.