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, particularly at a time when it's being affected by the war and invasion of Ukraine, and inflation," 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.