The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is thought to have infected about 80% of the European Union’s population, according to the bloc’s executive body. According to media reports, the estimates were arrived at by calculating the number of unreported illnesses, which might be as high as 350 million, or 77 percent of Europe’s population.
As the EU prepares to enter a post-emergency period in which bulk reporting of cases is no longer required, countries should increase vaccination of children against the virus, according to a senior European Commission official, who also mentioned that antivirals are being considered.
“It is expected that between 60% and 80% of the EU population has had COVID by now,” stated EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides. According to the commission, recorded instances have so far affected around 30% of Europe’s population.
The bloc is now moving away from bulk testing and reporting of instances, Kyriakides said, citing a recent decline in virus-related infections and deaths.
However, because more outbreaks are anticipated as the virus continues to mutate, countries should have measures in place to return to emergency mode and ramp up vaccines, according to the commission.
The EU has urged governments to keep pressing for immunisation of the unvaccinated, particularly children, ahead of the start of the new school year in the autumn.
Immunization rates among children aged five to nine, the youngest age group for which Covid-19 vaccines have been approved in Europe, are below 15%.
The commission also stated that it may support the development of new antiviral medications to combat Covid-19, particularly those that are easier to store and administer.
Antiviral tablets created by Pfizer and Merck & Co have been approved for use in the European Union, but they have not yet been utilized in considerable quantities.
The EU executive also stated that it will try to encourage the development of next-generation vaccinations that would provide extended protection against the infection or its spread.