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Parliamentary question - E-001953/2020(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

While the responsibility for health policy lies primarily with EU Member States, the Commission is mobilising all means at its disposal to help coordinate national responses and provides objective information about the spread of the virus and effective efforts to contain it. Data collection forms a crucial part of monitoring the progress of the virus.

The Commission is aware of the differences in COVID-19 case and mortality rates reported by EU Member States.

The Commission is guided by advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The ECDC risk assessment on COVID-19, published on 8 April 2020, recommended to monitor all deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases, irrespective of whether they occur in hospitals, the community or long-term care facilities[1].

On 9 April 2020, ECDC launched a survey on surveillance practices in Member States, including a question on COVID-19 mortality reporting. The results showed that 25% (6/24) of the Member States and the United Kingdom report COVID-19 deaths in all cases (confirmed and probable cases) and 92% (22/24) report COVID-19 deaths in both hospitalised and community related cases following the international guidelines.

In the risk assessment of 23 April 2020[2], ECDC endorsed the use of international guidance on certification and classification of COVID-19 related deaths published by the World Health Organisation on 16 April 2020[3].

Considering the difficulties in comparing data on mortality across countries, ECDC also recommends approaches monitoring all-cause or specific excess mortality, showing the wider impact of COVID-19. The European Mortality Monitoring Project[4] aims to detect and measure excess deaths related to public health threats, including COVID-19.

Last updated: 24 June 2020
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