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Europe must be more efficient with COVID policies - EU Council president

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a wall mural during the resurging coronavirus outbreak in Galway, Ireland, October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

ROME (Reuters) - The situation in Europe, where coronavirus infections are surging, is “serious and alarming” and the bloc must be more efficient with testing, contact tracing, vaccine and quarantine policies, the EU Council President said.

“We need more efficiency in intercepting (the virus) before citizens infect each other. We need strong planning, otherwise we will have systematic lockdowns in coming months,” Charles Michel told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview published on Wednesday.

Michel said coordination was also needed to limit the “negative economic and social effects” of the pandemic, when asked whether Europe feared a wave of social unrest.

He added that the area will need to be prepared when vaccines become available. “It will not be easy to manage that phase.”

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Andrew Heavens