Guy Verhofstadt wants Brussels to seize powers to manage UK’s coronavirus response

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The senior Belgian MEP said it was time for the European Union to issue pandemic travel rules amid fears a second wave could soon erupt across the Continent. Any bloc-wide travel rules would likely be applied to Britain until the end of the year as part of the post-Brexit transition period. Writing on Twitter, Mr Verhofstadt said: “It’s time the EU takes action to harmonise the COVID data and to issue one set of traveler rules.

“A COVID dashboard illustrating the chaos is not enough, we need the EU at the wheel.”

He was referring to the data collected from national governments by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The institution publishes a daily chart of coronavirus cases in every EU member state as well as the UK.

It issues each country with a colour-coded warning over whether it is safe to travel, based on the infection statistics from the previous 14 days.

The European Commission has left it to member states to decide how best to manage the control of the virus in their countries.

The Brussels-based executive has, however, urged European governments to work together in order to keep the bloc’s free-travel zone open.

But experts have also hit out at the system, insisting EU bureaucrats should do more to coordinate a continental response.

Jean-Luc Gala, an infectious disease expert at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, said: “First of all, I think that for the determination of the zones, a European coordination would be necessary.

“It has been lacking from the start. In health matters, as in defence, although they are very different areas, it is the sovereignty of states that prevails.

“The situation and this apparent mess shows that it would be really very interesting to have European coordination both on the opening and closing of borders, and on the colour coding of risk areas.

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“Europe, through its infectious disease centre, has the capacity to receive, and it does not receive information from each country and to standardise the codes according to the seriousness of the situation, which is not the case.

“And so each country makes its own recommendations, but we see that this poses a problem for everyone.”

According to the latest information published by the EU’s ECDC, 12 of the 27 member states have been issued with an orange warning code.

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It means the states have 20 or more cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days.

Luxembourg is the bloc’s pandemic hotspot with 205.1 cases per 100,00 inhabitants.

Whereas the UK’s latest reading sits at 14.3.

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