Budapest26 June 2020 – As a resurgence in COVID-19 cases is reported in many parts of Europe and total deaths on the continent near 200,000, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls on communities to continue practising safety measures to prevent a deadly further spread of the virus.

“None of us is safe until all of us are safe,” said Dr. Davron Mukhamadiev, IFRC’s regional health and care coordinator. “Despite the easing of restrictions and summer weather, it is critical that we all continue to adhere to health and safety measures to avoid a ‘second wave’ across Europe.”

Without effective and sustained community-based epidemic control measures, the pandemic will remain in communities and further peaks can be expected until the virus is eradicated.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 20,000 new COVID-19 cases are recorded in Europe every day and more than 25 countries have seen an increase in new cases in the past two weeks. The top ten countries with the most significant increases are Croatia (2,680%), Iceland (+900%), Slovakia (+311%), Kyrgyzstan (241%), Bulgaria, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Israel and Luxembourg.

In recent weeks, many European countries have begun easing public movement restrictions or ending ‘lockdowns’. Combined with warm and sunny weather across many parts of the region, there is fear that people forget to practise the safety measures that are of critical importance to preventing a deadly resurgence.

There are simple, yet effective precautions all of us should continue to take so that we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” said Mukhamadiev.

Hand washing, physical distancing by remaining two metres apart from other people, proper use of face coverings and avoidance of large crowds are the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers across Europe have been working around the clock to provide critical and accurate information on COVID-19 and its prevention. Teams continue to do so as restrictions are eased to help keep communities stay healthy and safe, and prevent further resurgence of cases.

Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in 54 European countries are also providing health care and ambulance services, distributing personal protective equipment, disinfectants and water to health care services, delivering food, medicine and hygiene items, supporting in temperature checks at ports of arrival, running telephone hotlines and providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in distress.

Key health and safety measures everyone should practise include:

  • Frequently wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately throw away the tissue. Cough into your elbow if a tissue is not available.
  • Maintain at least a one metre distance between yourself and others, and avoid crowded places.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Anyone with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek medical care according to their national recommendations and stay at home and self-isolate.
  • Follow your local Ministry of Health’s guidance on the use of masks and face coverings.
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