EU health chief says pandemic getting worse in many EU countries

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FILE PHOTO: EU commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides gives a press conference on the EU's biodefence preparedness program meant to increase the bloc's capabilities to identify variants of the new coronavirus, at the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 17, 2021. Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The pandemic is getting worse in many European countries, with the numbers of COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths on the rise, European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a news conference on Wednesday.

In response, the Commission said it was tightening rules for exports of COVID-19 vaccines made in the EU.

“The revision of the export transparency mechanism comes when the situation is alarming in many member states,” Kyriakides said. “19 countries are now reporting increases in the number of cases … 8 are reporting an increase in the number of deaths,” she said.

“The situation is concerning because we have seen the increase in the number of (coronavirus) variants in the recent weeks,” she said.