Center for disease prevention warns of increased transmission of Covid-19 in the EU

ECDC advises member states to focus on vaccination

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today warned of the recent increase in transmission of the Covid-19 virus in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA).

“In recent weeks, signs of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 [responsible for Covid-19] have increased in relation to previously very low levels in the EU/EEA”, warns the European agency, in a statement.

In August, highlights the ECDC, sporadic detections of a sub-strain of Ómicron were also reported that is “highly divergent from the SARS-CoV-2 strains”, which causes “concerns about an increase in reinfections if it surpasses the existing variants ”.

The ECDC states that the large concentrations of people and the increase in travel during seasonal holidays, as well as the decrease in levels of immunological protection against infection in the population, contribute to the increase in epidemiological indicators.

The center recommends that national health authorities, when starting vaccination campaigns, focus on factors that previously prevented uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) had already expressed concern about the “worrying trends” regarding Covid-19, with the approach of winter in the northern hemisphere, calling for vaccination and surveillance of the virus.

Although there is currently no dominant variant in the world, the sub-variant of Omicron EG.5 is on the rise, explained the director general of the WHO.

In Portugal, the use of a mask became mandatory again when admitted to Santa Maria and Pulido Valente hospitals, following the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, to interrupt possible chains of transmission of the disease, according to a hospital manager.

The latest DGS Seasonal Health Response – Surveillance and Monitoring report records an increase in new cases reported within seven days of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with 31 cases per 100.000 inhabitants in week 33 (31/07/2023 to 20 /08/2023), 35% more compared to the previous week.