The European Commission announced on March 2 the formation of its “corona response team”, a team of five Commissioners who will co-ordinate work on halting the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Commissioners are Janez Lenarčič, who is in charge of crisis management, Stella Kyriakides, in charge of health issues, Ylva Johansson, for border-related issues, Adina Vălean, in charge of mobility and Paolo Gentiloni, for macroeconomic aspects.
The response team will be working on three main pillars: first, the medical field, covering prevention and procurement to relief measures, information and foresight. “Under this pillar, we will be working in close co-operation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Medicines Agency,” the Commission said.
The second pillar covers mobility, from transport to travel advice and Schengen-related questions.
The third pillar covers the economy. “It is looking in-depth at various business sectors – such as tourism or transport, trade, as well as value chains and macro-economy.”
The Commission is also launching on March 2 a dedicated webpage on Covid-19. The website provides information on key activities across medical, civil protection, mobility, economy and statistics angles, as well as links to member states’ dedicated websites, most recent studies and other relevant information.
The Commission has launched an accelerated joint procurement procedure for personal protective equipment with 20 member states, with invitations to tender sent to a number of selected companies identified through a market analysis. It will facilitate the necessary and equitable access to personal protective equipment for member states to minimise potential shortages. The signing of contracts should be finalised beginning of April, at the earliest, the Commission said.
On March 3, European Commission Vice-President Jourová is to meet representatives of online platforms to discuss the issue of disinformation in the context of Covid-19 outbreak. They will assess if more should be done to mitigate the risks of disinformation.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)