Recent developments

European flags

Keep informed of recent international developments that may impact the UK health and care sector. This includes the latest updates on guidance and international discussions. 

European Union

  • NEW: The European Medicines Agency has issued new guidance that includes a reminder for healthcare professionals of the risks of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
  • NEW: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has presented a report of preliminary 30-day forecasts of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and UK for the expected number of cases, deaths and hospitalised cases (under a set of assumptions) to support the assessment of the impact of de-escalation of measures.
  • NEW: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has launched a new weekly COVID-19 surveillance report. It provides an overview of the COVID-19 epidemiology in the EU/EEA and the UK using the available data compiled from multiple sources.
  • Following on from the MHRA guidance on Managing clinical trials during coronavirus (COVID-19), the EU has issued revised guidance to ensure that clinical trials can continue taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic. This provides a set of recommendations on flexible measures (for exclusive use during the pandemic) that sponsors can take to mitigate disruption of clinical research in Europe without compromising data quality and safety of trial participants. 
  • The European Commission recently launched the COVID19-CMSS web conferencing support system for the clinical management of COVID19 patients. The system is available to all EU hospitals treating complex COVID19 cases and provides a communication IT platform allowing clinicians to consult other clinicians from all Europe on the more complex cases, exchange information and diagnosis. Further information is contained in the slides and factsheet.
  • UPDATE: The Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon registered €7.4 billion in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response event. The money collected will help accelerate the development and deployment of universally available and affordable vaccination, treatment and diagnostics. A new campaign is set to be launched 'Global Goal: Unite For Our Future', that will culminate in a Global Pledging Summit on 27 June.
  • The European Commission recently hosted a pan-European hackathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners and investors across Europe to develop innovative solutions for COVID-19-related challenges. See the results, which include the winner on health's scalable patient monitoring system that minimises physical contact between nurses and patients.
  • The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety in the European Commission, on 21 April, laid out the five essential elements for national exit strategies to ensure a coordinated de-escalation of COVID-19 measures. She also discussed the EU's new PPE stockpile, how to support healthcare systems, availability of medicines, impact of COVID-19 on patients with serious disease and other at-risk groups and coordinating a common exit strategy.
  • The European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution on 17 April EU for coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution calls for European solutions to overcoming the economic and social consequences and the protection of democracy, rule of law and for the EU to show solidarity on a global level. It also expresses its strong solidarity with the UK and ‘offers all measures of cooperation to fight the pandemic and its consequence.
  • ’The European Commission published the EU toolbox for the use of mobile apps for contact tracing and warning in response to the pandemic. The toolbox sets out essential requirements for these apps and is accompanied by guidance on protection of personal data and limiting intrusiveness.
  • The MHRA has made CPRD, a primary health care database covering 20 per cent of the UK population, available to UK and EU researchers. MHRA also shared UK studies that will inform COVID-19 management. Updates from other countries can be found from the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities.
  • UPDATE: On 15 April, the European Commission, put forward a European roadmap to phase out the containment measures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Further detail is available on the Commission's coronavirus website.

Other international collaboration

  • The European Psychiatric Association and its partners have compiled essential resources for mental health professionals and the general public which will be continually updated with research, recommendations and country-specific guidelines.
  • The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has published guidance on a safe return to the workplace for healthcare workers after COVID-19.
  • The international clinical trials, co-led by UKRI and UCL, testing the effectiveness of remdesivir on patients hospitalised with COVID-19, has shown "very promising" preliminary results. Launched in early April, the randomised trial is taking place in 75 hospitals globally and has recruited over 1,000 patients. In addition, the European Medicines Agency has started a 'rolling review' of data on the use of the treatment - a regulatory tool to speed up the assessment of a promising investigational medicine during a public health emergency, such as the ongoing pandemic.
  • The OECD has published a policy brief discussing the role of testing for COVID-19 as part of any plan to lift confinement restrictions and prepare for a possible new wave of viral infections.

World Health Organization

  • NEW: Member countries of the World Health Organization adopted a resolution on 19 May on the coronavirus response, without objections. 
  • The WHO has joined forces with the UK government communications teams and the Prime Minister’s office for an awareness campaign about the risks of incorrect and false information about the pandemic. 'Stop The Spread' is a global campaign, rolled out on BBC World television, website and apps during May and June 2020.
  • The key theme of this year's European Public Health Week, 11 – 15 May, is 'COVID-19 collaboration, coordination and communication'. It aims to raise awareness of important public health issues and foster collaboration among the public health community across Europe. See here for how to get involved.
  • WHO Europe has published guidance on strengthening health systems and rapidly reorganising service delivery to respond to COVID-19 while maintaining core essential services. Policy resources include recommendations for a well-aligned health system response, technical guidance and checklists, and planning and monitoring tools.
  • WHO has published guidelines for faith-based organisations and faith leaders during the pandemic, which is particularly relevant as Ramadan begins.

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