EU leaders urge capitals to coordinate coronavirus lockdown exit

EU leaders urged national capitals to cut the chaos and coordinate a careful easing of coronavirus lockdown measures when conditions permit.

With some EU countries already pushing ahead with their own exit strategies, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday presented a “roadmap” for winding down the containment rules that have restricted the freedoms of millions of people and put much of the EUs economy in a deep freeze.

In putting forward the roadmap document — which was first published Tuesday by POLITICO — von der Leyen acknowledged that legal authority rested in the capitals and that Brussels could not compel national leaders to follow the EU guidelines. Nonetheless, she insisted the EUs approach would provide an important “frame” that would promote a choreographed approach across the bloc.

Health experts have warned that a premature easing of containment measurements without proper controls would risk a renewed spike in infections, and a second wave of the crisis.

At a news conference, von der Leyen urged national capitals to meet three conditions as they seek to ease: a verifiable, sustained decrease in the number of coronavirus cases; confirmation of sufficient health system capacity to provide critical care not only for COVID-19 patients but for those suffering from other illnesses; and “sufficient surveillance and monitoring capacity in the form of large-scale testing.”

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