The European Haemophilia Consortium (EHC) continues to closely monitor and evaluate the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID19). This is an update to the EHC’s January position statement, available here.

Situation in Europe

Transmission of COVID19 in Europe is dynamic and rapidly evolving. The EHC refers readers to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europefor latest updates and risk assessments. The risk associated with COVID19 transmission for people in the European Union, the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom is currently considered to be moderate to very high.

Personal precautionary steps

The situation in Europe is variable across countries and the EHC refers readers primarily to the risk assessment and mitigation plans of their national authorities.

In general, the following precautionary principles are advisable (more about that here):

  1. Conduct rigorous hand hygiene (wash with soap and water for 20 seconds);
  2. Observe strict cough etiquette (cough or sneeze into elbow, or if into a tissue, discard it immediately into a closed bin);
  3. Implement social distancing measures (avoid shaking hands and kissing, crowded transportation, and unnecessary mass gatherings);
  4. Consider proactive workplace and school/day care measures (such as teleworking, etc.) to reduce undue burdens on national healthcare systems;
  5. Exercise extra precautions for elderly or immune-compromised groups;
  6. If you are a bleeding disorder patient:
    • Contact your Treatment Centre prior to any pre-existing appointment(s) to enquire whether to maintain, postpone, or ideally conduct online; and
    • Avoid unnecessary travel.

EHC events

Due to the rapidly evolving situation in Europe and respecting principles 3-6 above, the EHC has cancelled its April events (Youth Leadership Workshop and World Haemophilia Day event), and is observing a spending embargo for its May and June events while it continues to monitor and assess the situation. In the meantime, alternative arrangements, such as virtual options, are being explored.

Safety, supply and availability of treatment products

The EHC is staying in close contact with manufacturers of bleeding disorder therapies regarding their risk assessment and mitigation plans, including on medicinal source materials, supply chains, and shipping and transportation of medicinal products across borders, in efforts to avoid disruption to bleeding disorder treatment regimens and access to life-saving therapies for our community. At the moment, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) does not foresee medicine shortages. For more information on potential impacts to medicinal supplies, please monitor the EMA page on this subject.

Next steps

The EHC will continue to monitor the evolving COVID19 situation and provide updated statements as relevant. If you have any questions about how COVID19 may impact you, please contact your healthcare provider, national patient organisation and/or national disease prevention and control authority.