AuthorEuropean Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU body or agency)
By 21July2020, COVID-19 had infected 1,328,120 people in the EU and 135,124 people
had died from it, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
As infection rates continued to stabilise throughout June, EU Member States focused on
further relaxing the restrictions they had put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19
and protect the health and lives of people in the EU.
In June, more aspects of life returned to ‘normal’ as restrictions on gatherings eased
further, people could again travel within the EU, and more businesses reopened their
doors. Despite the gradual return to normal life, Member States continued to exercise
caution, recognising that the pandemic is not yet over and amid concerns about a
possible ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 infections. Protecting the rights to life and health
– while avoiding further inequalities that may result from measures adopted – should
remain a priority as countries continue to ease restrictions.
This is the fourth FRA Bulletin on how the Coronavirus pandemic affects fundamental
rights. It outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen
their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It
highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic
rights. The bulletin starts by looking at declarations of states of emergency, or their
equivalent, including how and under what circumstances Member States began to lift
them (
). It then considers the impact on fundamental rights of measures to
contain the virus on important areas of daily life, including social life, work, education,
travel and the judicial system (
describes the impact of the pandemic
and containment measures on certain population groups. The bulletin closes by returning
to some of the specif‌ic fundamental rights issues related to the pandemic addressed in
previous bulletins, providing updated information on: racism and xenophobia; asylum
and migration; disinformation; and data protection and privacy (
Section 4
Given the speed with which the pandemic and policy responses have unfolded, the
bulletin does not present an in-depth socio-legal analysis of measures and their impact,
nor does it offer recommendations for future policies. Rather, it presents illustrative
examples drawn from data collected by FRA’s research network Franet (see box). It is
beyond the Bulletin’s scope to present an analysis of relevant international human rights
law since it applies only to the situation in the EU and its Member States.
Bulletin#4 addresses several areas of life affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. While
these are all ref‌lected in various articles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, they
are not all comprehensively covered by secondary EU law. For example, the Bulletin
encompasses core areas affected by measures enacted in response to COVID-19 –
such as education. These are, in the main, questions of national competence. But in
combination, they might nevertheless have implications in EU law relevant f‌ields such
as non-discrimination.
Selected examples of promising practices to mitigate the impact of public health measures
on fundamental rights are included throughout. These examples of practices in EU Member
States presented in the report do not comprehensively cover the huge number of actions
taken across the EU Member States.

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