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Coronavirus is back in large numbers across Europe. Since governments began to lift lockdowns at the start of the European summer, positive cases of COVID-19 have been steadily increasing in countries that previously had the spread of the disease under control, including Spain, France, Italy and Germany.
This short paper sets out the key health financing actions countries in Europe can take to reduce the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a broader health system response. It focuses on three policy objectives – removing financial barriers to access, mobilizing additional public funds for health and giving health service providers flexibility to respond – and illustrates them using country examples from the COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor. The primary aim of the paper is to support health financing responses to COVID-19 in countries that rely heavily on out-of-pocket payments, but the paper’s recommendations are relevant to all countries in Europe.
Governments warn of threat of second wave of cases amid local spikes in infections Several European countries a few weeks ahead of the UK on the road out of lockdown have experienced local spikes in coronavirus infections, but all have maintained an overall downward trend in new daily cases of the virus. Most governments, though, continue to warn of the real threat of a second wave of Covid-19 cases and to insist on the importance of physical distancing if the spread of the virus is not to pick up again as restrictions ease further.

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