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Published: 10:29, July 25, 2022 | Updated: 18:30, July 25, 2022
Official: EU should act now for COVID-19 waves in winter
By Reuters
Published:10:29, July 25, 2022 Updated:18:30, July 25, 2022 By Reuters

European Union Ccmmissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides speaks during a joint press conference after the College meeting focused on the Nature Restoration Law and the Commission’s proposal to halve the use of pesticides by 2030 at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 22, 2022. (JOHN THYS / AFP)

WASHINGTON / NICOSIA - EU member states should start preparing now for a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in autumn and winter, the bloc's health chief said on Monday, saying there had been a "worrying increase" in outbreaks.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also warned there was no room for complacency, saying the pandemic was not over.

"Unfortunately the pandemic has shown a worrying increase in several countries," she told Cyprus state radio.

"For the past two months we have been preparing for the autumn and winter, fully aware the next pandemic wave cannot and should not further burden our economies or our societies," she said.

Kyriakides, who is from Cyprus, told the broadcaster the Commission had asked member states to accelerate booster shots now for persons over 60 and vulnerable groups.

"These months should be preparatory months ... So our health systems be ready for possible new waves which might, for instance, be combined with seasonal flu," she said.

US President Joe Biden speaks on COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 21, 2022. (NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)

US President Joe Biden's condition since contracting COVID-19 has improved considerably and his greatest symptom now is a sore throat, his physician said on Sunday.

Biden's cough and body aches have diminished since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and he is not experiencing any shortness of breath, the physician, Dr Kevin O'Connor, said in a memo released by the White House.

Joe Biden's cough and body aches have diminished since he tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and he is not experiencing any shortness of breath, his physician Dr Kevin O'Connor said in a memo released by the White House

"His symptoms continue to improve significantly. His predominant symptom now is sore throat. This is most likely a result of lymphoid activation as his body clears the virus, and is thus encouraging," O'Connor said. Biden's pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature all were normal.

"His voice remains a bit deep," O'Connor said.

ALSD READ: Biden has sore throat, body aches, but symptoms improving

Earlier on Sunday, White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha said in interviews on "Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week" that none of Biden's 17 identified close contacts had so far tested positive for the coronavirus.

Biden, 79, has had mild symptoms since his diagnosis, which came as a highly contagious subvariant of the coronavirus drives a new wave of cases in the United States. On Saturday, O'Connor said genomic sequencing found that subvariant, known as BA.5,was likely the cause of Biden's illness. 

Jha told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Biden had an upper respiratory infection.

The White House has sought to underscore Biden's ability to work through his illness. On Thursday, it released a video of him reassuring Americans he was doing fine, and on Friday he participated in virtual meetings with White House staff.

ALSD READ: COVID-19 hospital admissions on rise in Czech Republic

The president had no public events over the weekend, and travel plans for the early part of this week have been canceled.

Biden's diagnosis came as political and economic challenges confront his presidency, with his policy agenda under threat on Capitol Hill and high inflation hurting his approval rating with voters, who will decide at polls in November whether Republicans or Democrats control Congress.

Biden's Democrats currently have a slim majority in the House of Representatives and control the evenly divided Senate through Vice-President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote.

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