EU health body rings alarm bells over Covid-19 complacency

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European Commissioner for Health Kyriakides presser in Brussels - European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides speaks during a press conference updating the risk assessment for the coronavirus (COVID-19). - Jennifer Jacquemart/European Commission/dpa

The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) and the European Commission warned on Thursday of a lack of respect for coronavirus containment measures and poor enforcement amid rising infections across the continent.

Restrictive measures had contributed to a slowing down of the spread, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said. However, the rate picked up again as restrictions were lifted, she added.

"In some member states the situation is now even worse than during the peak in March. This is a real cause for concern," Kyriakides warned. "The control measures taken have simply not been effective enough, or not been enforced, or not followed as they should have been."

ECDC director Andrea Ammon said that some countries are still seeing an increasing number of cases, including severe ones.

While more cases were detected because countries are testing more, the percentage of positive cases has also grown since August, Ammon said, describing the trend as "alarming."

Part of this could be attributed to a shift in the age pattern, as more and more young people get infected.

Ammon pointed to studies that show younger people felt "invulnerable" and "have no concerns that they could actually transmit any disease or the virus."

"They don't feel that it's a concern for them," she said.