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Lifting COVID-19 containment measures — roadmap

Lifting COVID-19 containment measures — roadmap



Joint European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures


  • Recommendations to the governments of EU countries, outlining a coordinated EU approach for gradually lifting containment measures to restart community life and the economy.
  • The key principles are:
    • scientific advice,
    • coordination, and
    • solidarity.


The roadmap:

  • Emphasises that transparency, clear, timely public communication and constant dialogue with business and trade unions are important.
  • Sets out 3 criteria for assessing the lockdown:
    • epidemiology: data showing spread of the disease has significantly decreased and stabilised for a sustained period;
    • sufficient health system capacity: to deal both with the virus and other medical demands;
    • appropriate monitoring capacity: to conduct large-scale testing to quickly detect and stem the spread of the virus.
  • Provides 3 guiding principles for a coordinated relaxing of COVID-19 measures, while allowing national timing and specifics to differ:
    • any action must be based on science;
    • coordination of existing national measures and prior notification of any measures;
    • respect and solidarity between all EU countries.
  • Gradual phasing-out of confinement:
    • gathering data and developing a robust system, sharing information in a harmonised way;
    • creating a framework for contact tracing and warning with use of voluntary mobile apps;
    • expanding testing capacities and harmonising methodologies;
    • increasing the capacities and resilience of healthcare systems;
    • continuing to reinforce medical and personal protective equipment capacities;
    • creating a safe and effective vaccine with fast track authorisation and availability;
    • developing safe and effective treatments and medicines, in particular by testing drugs currently used for other diseases and conditions.
  • Presents 8 recommendations to gradually end lockdown:
    • sufficient time for lifting any measure in different stages, possibly 1 month;
    • progressively replace general measures by specific ones, for example longer protection for most vulnerable groups or quarantine for people diagnosed with the virus or with symptoms;
    • first lifting measures locally before gradually extending more widely;
    • gradual opening of EU internal and external borders;
    • new safety requirements for the re-start of economic activity to allow businesses to adjust, for example, encouraging teleworking;
    • specific safety conditions for group gatherings, e.g. smaller classes and different times for meals in schools and universities;
    • awareness campaigns on strong hygiene practices to prevent the virus spreading by social distancing and use of facemasks in public.
  • Identifies areas for future input by the European Commission, in particular:
    • guidelines on different COVID-19 tests;
    • EU network of COVID-19 reference laboratories;
    • removing bans or restrictions on exports within the EU, especially of medical equipment;
    • consistent use of antitrust rules allowing companies to cooperate to remedy shortages of goods and services;
    • streamlining marketing authorisation for new vaccines;
    • advice on restoring transport services and on free movement of people;
    • rapid alert system for supply and value chains;
    • monitoring national measures;
    • cooperation with national governments to discuss financing initiatives under the Emergency Support Instrument (see Regulation (EU) 2020/521).
  • Areas where the Commission has already responded to the crisis:
    • easing state aid rules for national public spending to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the virus (COM(2020) 112 final and COM(2020) 143 final);
    • Regulation (EU) 2016/369 (see summary) to set up the Emergency Support Instrument, supporting healthcare systems;
    • Recommendation (EU) 2020/518 on a common EU toolbox for the use of apps on social distancing;
    • guidelines on EU emergency assistance on cross-border cooperation in healthcare.


It has applied since 17 April 2020.



Joint European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures (OJ C 126, 17.4.2020, pp. 1-11)


Council Regulation (EU) 2016/369 of 15 March 2016 on the provision of emergency support within the Union (OJ L 70, 16.3.2016, pp. 1-6)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2016/369 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Eurogroup — Coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 Outbreak (COM(2020) 112 final, 13.3.2020)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Coronavirus Response Using every available euro in every way possible to protect lives and livelihoods (COM(2020) 143 final, 2.4.2020)

Communication from the Commission — Guidelines on EU Emergency Assistance on Cross-Border Cooperation in Healthcare related to the COVID-19 crisis (OJ C 111I, 3.4.2020, pp. 1-5)

Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/518 of 8 April 2020 on a common Union toolbox for the use of technology and data to combat and exit from the COVID-19 crisis, in particular concerning mobile applications and the use of anonymised mobility data (OJ L 114, 14.4.2020, pp. 7-15)

last update 16.06.2020