Current response and management decisions of the European Union to the COVID-19 outbreak: A review

Krzysztof Goniewicz, Amir Khorram-Manesh, Attila J. Hertelendy, Mariusz Goniewicz, Katarzyna Naylor, Frederick M. Burkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


COVID-19 has proven to be a formidable challenge for many countries in the European Union to manage effectively. The European Union has implemented numerous strategies to face emerging issues. Member States have adopted measures such as the closure of borders and significant limitations on the mobility of people to mitigate the spread of the virus. An unprecedented crisis coordination effort between Member States has facilitated the ability to purchase equipment, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies. Attention has also been focused on providing substantive money for research to find a vaccine and promote effective treatment therapies. Financial support has been made available to protect worker salaries and businesses to help facilitate a return to a functional economy. Lessons learned to date from COVID-19 in the European Union are many; the current crisis highlights the need to think about future pandemics from a population-based management approach and apply outside the box critical thinking. Due to the complexity, intensity, and frequency of complex disasters, global leaders in healthcare, government, and business will need to pivot from siloed approaches to decision-making to embrace multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary levels of cooperation. This cooperation requires courage and leadership to recognize that changes are necessary to avoid making the same mistakes we have planned countless times on avoiding. This study focuses on the European Union's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with how the European Union first learned and processed the global information arising out of China, followed by the incremental population-based medicine/management decisions made that currently are defining the European Union's capacity and capability. The capacity to organize, deliver, and monitor care to a specific clinical population under a population-based management target includes strict social distancing strategies, contact testing and tracing, testing for the virus antigen and its antibodies, isolation, and treatment modalities such as new mitigating medications, and finally, a vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3838
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Crisis
  • Crisis management
  • Disaster
  • European Union preparedness
  • Pandemics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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