The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its conclusions on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
The EU health agency said it had identified four areas where lessons had been learned.
These areas included investing in public health, preparing for the next health crisis, risk communication and community engagement, and collection and analysis of data and evidence.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us valuable lessons and it is important to review and evaluate our responses to determine what has worked and what has not,” said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.
Some of the ECDC results
The ECDC report stressed the critical need for adequately trained public health workers and said there must be continuous capacity assessments of health workforce needs.
Healthcare workers have been under significant pressure for an extended period of time, which “resulted in significant burnout.” This led to staff departures or a reduced ability to work. ECDC said there was a need to continuously invest in workforce capacity and work to recruit and retain qualified health workers.
ECDC pointed out that in many EU/EEA countries public health staff were exhausted during the financial crisis between 2008 and 2014, which would have contributed to medical staff shortages when the pandemic hit.
The ECDC report states that updated and scalable preparedness plans are needed and recommended the development of a plan, the sharing of national preparedness plans and the conduct of simulated exercises as follow-up actions.
Risk communication and community engagement have been highlighted as key challenges throughout the pandemic and it has been identified that the communication capacity between the public and the media needs to be strengthened.
ECDC said digital systems had helped monitor the pandemic and that these measures would continue to be applied.
The global pandemic
On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin was reported in Wuhan, China.
This was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which reached Europe a few weeks later.
As of April 26, over 6.9 million deaths had been reported worldwide, according to the WHO.
The US recorded the highest number of deaths in the world at 1,161,164, followed by Brazil at 701,494, according to the latest figures from Statista.
kb (dpa, DW sources)