BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – According to international scientists, Europe needs a common strategy to fight the coronavirus. With open borders, a single country cannot keep the number of Covid-19 cases low, according to a position paper that international scientists working with Max Planck researcher Viola Priesemann have published in the journal “The Lancet”. “If European governments do not act now, further waves of infections can be expected, which will subsequently damage health, society, jobs and the economy.” The researchers are calling for the number of new infections every day to be limited to a maximum of 7 per 100,000 inhabitants per week – in all European countries – through a coordinated approach.
“I initialized this European statement because I think that there is a really, very broad consensus in science – from virology to epidemiology, to economics and sociology – that low case numbers only have advantages,” says Priesemann, who am Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Gttingen conducts research. On the other hand, high case numbers would have no advantages. “It pays to consistently bring the number of cases down and then to keep it down there. We have more freedom when the number of cases is low.”
The goal stated by the researchers had been achieved in many countries and could be achieved again in Europe by spring at the latest. Consistent restrictions would have been effective. In order to avoid a ping-pong effect and the constant introduction of the virus, resolute and synchronized action is required from all European countries.
As soon as the number of new infections has been successfully reduced, the measures can be relaxed, the position paper continues. However, they should be strictly monitored, and established measures such as hygiene rules or contact tracing should be retained. In addition, at least 300 tests per day per million inhabitants would have to be available in order to keep the infection rate at a low level in the long term. Local outbreaks required swift and rigorous intervention, including travel restrictions and regional lockdowns.
In the opinion of the researchers, a common European strategy should also be developed for the more distant future in addition to national action plans.
By Saturday, more than 330 experts and scientists had signed the “Contain Covid-19” initiative. From Germany, for example, the virologists Christian Drosten and Sandra Ciesek, the President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, the President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Clemens Fuest, and Leopoldina President Gerald Haug./ags/DP/nas