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Coronavirus: How is the EU preparing for a second wave?

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Medical staff conduct a test for the new coronavirus on the passengers who arrived from Doha, Qatar to the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Monday, June
Medical staff conduct a test for the new coronavirus on the passengers who arrived from Doha, Qatar to the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Monday, June   -   Copyright  Thanassis Stavrakis/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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The EU Commission has admitted that the response to the first wave of coronavirus was not Europe's finest hour, but it is drawing on the lessons learnt to prepare for a possible second wave.

The Commission has released new guidelines that include more coordinated testing, ensuring medical equipment can move freely across the EU, as well as making sure contact tracing apps work across borders.

"There will be no European tracing app. I don't think that people expect from the Commission to develop such an option," said Margaritis Schinas, EU Commission vice president.

He told Euronews that it is the Commission's duty to make sure all tracing apps being developed should have a "certain number of criteria of interoperability" as well as offering data protection.

Countries around the world are developing COVID-19 smartphone apps in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus, but questions remain over how efficient they will be at containing an outbreak.

Around 60% of the population need to use the apps to make them efficient, Jennifer Baker, a journalist specialising in technology, told Euronews.

"It is essential that people trust them, otherwise they won't download them," she said.

She added that if citizens download them, the apps need to be switched on and that people must remember to keep their phones with them.

"You can't force a technological solution on a cultural problem — this is a people problem about whether people will actually socially distance. The app is useful but it's not the only solution, it's not the golden bullet."

Avoiding a second wave of COVID-19 is critical for both Europe's health systems and economies, which are struggling to recover from the initial lockdowns.