European Commission president: Do not act selfishly on vaccine'

Updated: 17 September, 2020 09:48 IST | Agencies | Brussels

Addressing MEPs in the European Parliament, she said her commission would try to reinforce the European Medicines Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Medical staff take care of a COVID-19 patient in an ICU of Lyon Croix-Rousse hospital, on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Medical staff take care of a COVID-19 patient in an ICU of Lyon Croix-Rousse hospital, on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday urged the EU members to build a stronger health union, promising a biomedical research agency and a global summit. In her first annual State of the European Union address, von der Leyen said the COVID-19 pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation, stressing that people were "still suffering".

"For me, it is crystal clear — we need to build a stronger European Health Union," she said.

Addressing MEPs in the European Parliament, she said her commission would try to reinforce the European Medicines Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. And she announced the creation of a new agency for biomedical advanced research and development dubbed BARDA.

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission head
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission head

She said she would work with Italy during its presidency of the G20 to convene a global health summit next year to share the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis.

"This will show Europeans that our Union is there to protect all." Von der Leyen, a doctor by training, also warned countries not to act selfishly when on vaccines, which are widely seen as the solution to end the crisis.

Madrid mulls lockdowns

The Spanish capital will introduce selective lockdowns in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster, regional health authorities announced on Wednesday. The measures in Madrid, including restrictions on mobility, will most likely affect southern, working-class neighbourhoods where virus contagion rates have been steadily soaring since August.

deputy regional health chief Antonio Zapatero said police will monitor compliance of mandatory self-isolation. With a caseload above 6,00,000 and over 30,000 deaths, Spain has been the hardest hit European country.

Trump says he never downplayed virus

Fielding compelling questions about voters' real-world problems, President Donald Trump denied during a televised town hall that he had played down the threat of the coronavirus earlier this year, although there is an audio recording of him stating he did just that. Asked why he doesn't more aggressively promote the use of masks to reduce the spread of the disease, Trump said, "There are people that don't think masks are good." His own Centres for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urges use of masks in public places.

 

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First Published: 17 September, 2020 07:22 IST

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