Brussels: As millions of European citizens gear up for the festive season, the European Union's executive commission urged member countries to maintain strong anti-COVID-19 restrictions in place to avoid a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
However, they fell short of advising against travel.
The European Commission said in non-binding recommendations published on Wednesday that easing pandemic-containment measures this month would only jeopardise the hard work that has helped show the infections across the EU in recent weeks.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, lifting all anti-coronavirus restrictions on December 21 would result in "a subsequent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions…as early as the first week of January 2021."
New confirmed cases have fallen steadily across Europe, where more than 300,000 people with COVID-19 have died. Until vaccines against the virus aren't rolled out, the EU commission is recommending prudence.
Stella Kyriakides, EU health commissioner said that every 17 seconds a person loses their life in Europe due to COVID-19. "The situation may be stabilising, but it remains delicate. Like everything else this year, end of the year festivities will be different. This year, saving lives must come before celebrations," she added.
The European Commission's strategy on Wednesday was to find a solution to skiing resorts. They were no common approach for it.
Restrictions to slow the spread of the virus have kept ski lifts closed in Italy, France and Germany however, other nations have raised concerns regarding the issue because it has a big economic impact.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, supports the common approach of keeping skiing cancelled.
Earlier this year, skiing resorts where the spots of rapid spreading of COVID-19 outbreaks across the continent.
The commission, however, did not discourage tourism and cross-border travelling. It recommended avoiding large religious services and for churches, synagogues and mosques to use online, TV or radio broadcasts instead.