Ana Paula Zacarias, heard in a parliamentary committee on the conclusions of the European Council last week, explained to the deputies the recommendation adopted by the leaders of the 27 that establishes criteria for possible restrictions on movement within the European space.
The issue marked the “first phase” of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus, with several Member States imposing a ban on entry from travelers from other European countries considered at risk based on unequal criteria.
From the European summit on 15 and 16 October, explained the secretary of state, “finally a recommendation from the Council to the Member States establishing criteria to take into account whenever there is this possibility of imposing restrictions on freedom of movement”.
It is a recommendation, so it is not mandatory, but, he stressed, “it has a much greater political weight in terms of the existing coordination”.
“The defined criteria are the cumulative rate of notifications that occurred in the last 14 days, that is, the number of new cases identified per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, the positive rate of the screening tests, that is, the percentage of positive screening tests for all tests performed in the last week, and the screening rate, that is, the number of tests performed per 100,000 inhabitants in the last week, ”he said.
These will be the criteria used “to define the famous red, green and yellow zones, as well as measures that are considered to be restrictions on free movement, as well as high risk zones that have to comply with a quarantine period”.
Ana Paula Zacarias considered, however, that “in this second phase there is no point in closing borders”.
“We are all getting worse, […] some countries even declare that they have lost control of their contagion chains. In these circumstances it is worth closing the borders, it is not worth it, what we have is to work together to improve the situation ”, he stressed.
The Secretary of State pointed out the need for “cooperation mechanisms that allow for more cooperation”, citing examples that occurred in the first phase of the pandemic, such as the transportation of patients from France or Italy for treatment in Germany or the sending of doctors from Romania to step up assistance in Spain or Italy.
“I really think that European citizens look at Europe and will see Europe in one way or another as we manage to respond to this issue,” he said, adding that, although health is the responsibility of the Member States, the EU has an “increased responsibility” for coordination and cooperation.
Ana Paula Zacarias also defended as “extremely important” the need to “base public policies on science” for a “credibility of public health measures”, which allows “the establishment of strict criteria […] oils for all ”.
“Because if this is not the case, if science is not ahead, disinformation will come, ideas will come that do not bring anything good to the work we have to do,” he warned.