Restrictions needed to battle COVID-19 in Europe, EU says

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Prague
FILE PHOTO: Spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Prague

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Friday that EU countries should be ready to impose restrictions on people's lives to battle the spread of the new coronavirus throughout the continent.

"We need to pull through this, where needed, with restrictions on everyday life to break the chain of transmission," she told a video conference of EU health ministers, according to her speaking notes.

France and Germany, the bloc's largest countries, announced new lockdowns this week as infections in the continent passed the 10-million-case milestone and hospitals and intensive care units fill up again with COVID-19 patients.

Bars, restaurants, sports and cultural events have been restricted or closed in several other European countries.

Kyriakides admitted that some of the needed measures were "painful" and that many people in Europe were now more reluctant to follow the new restrictions, which are coming after generalised lockdowns in spring at the peak of the first wave.

The EU commissioner said EU countries should also boost their testing and contact tracing capabilities and increase the capacity of the healthcare system.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Robin Emmott)