zoom MEP Knut Fleckenstein, the rapporteur on the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Market access to port services and financial transparency of ports announced yesterday that the legislative procedure for this particular file will be suspended.Mr Fleckenstein stated three reasons for his decision, namely time constraints, a lack of compromise on one of the most important elements: the scope of the market access chapter, and, finally, the need to better understand the European Commission’s intentions with regard to state aid rules applicable to ports.Given the two previous failed attempts to regulate EU ports in 2003 and 2006, the more modest and cautious approach adopted by the Commission on its third charge seemed at first to have a better chance of succeeding.Nevertheless it all turned sour at the very early stages of the legislative process. The Commission’s proposal was about to be extremely watered down by Members of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN). Indeed, over 500 amendments tabled by MEPs and compromise amendments, many of which would have led to a text destitute of meaning, thus delivering the death blow to the Commission’s proposal.“The initial proposal was already weak to begin with, given that essential elements such as cargo-handling and passenger services had been excluded. Disheartening as it was to witness some of the amendments introduced in Parliament, we maintained until now a glimmer of hope that the proposal would not be stripped down to little more than an empty shell” deplored Patrick Verhoeven.“The time-out of the debate on the Regulation proposal as announced by Mr Fleckenstein may, under the present circumstances, be the only sensible option left. It should however not stop the European Commission from encouraging port development and efficiency in the meantime. There is now an opportunity to make progress on the long-overdue proposal regarding pilotage exemption certificates and follow up on those areas where market access and transparency are problematic” he added.ECSA, March 14, 2014
But otherwise-healthy people with only mild illness should not receive antivirals nor should they be used as a preventive measure for such people. At-risk groups include pregnant women, children under two, and people with underlying conditions such as respiratory problems. Others who have persistent or rapidly worsening symptoms such as difficulty breathing and a high fever lasting beyond three days should also be treated with antivirals, and people who have already developed pneumonia should be given both antivirals and antibiotics to combat bacterial infections.“These medicines, antivirals and antibiotics, if used in a timely manner, can help save lives,” UN World Health Organization (WHO) global influenza officer Nikki Shindo told a news conference in Geneva. “We have heard that doctors involved in caring for very sick patients in intensive care units regretted that the patients arrived too late and even the most sophisticated medical procedures could not save their lives.“We asked what could have been done differently to avoid the tragic outcomes. All of them answered, without exception, that things may have been very different if they had been treated with an antiviral drug earlier,” she added, stressing that people not in the at-risk groups and with only a typical cold need not take antivirals.The pandemic virus can cause severe pneumonia even in healthy young people, though rather minor in proportion, and the virus can take life within a week. “The window of opportunity is very narrow to reverse the progression of the disease,” Dr. Shindo warned. “The medicine needs to be administered before the virus destroys the lungs.“In the initial guidance, we took a more conservative approach because we had almost no experience with regard to the effectiveness of the antiviral medicine in this disease, and also we were aware that access to the influenza medicine was very limited. Now, we have gained knowledge in effectiveness, safety of the medicine and we have also contributed to the global availability of the medicine.”Noting that WHO is supporting developing countries to face an upsurge in cases, Dr. Shindo said States should decentralize the distribution of antivirals and ensure that general practitioners have access to these medicines so that patients do not need to visit a hospital to get them, leaving hospitals freer to treat the most severe cases.WHO has a stockpile of antivirals to bolster supply in resource-poor countries. In May, at the beginning of the pandemic, it shipped antivirals to 72 countries, and more recently to Afghanistan, Mongolia, Belarus and Ukraine. Additional supplies will soon be sent to Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. 12 November 2009Immediate H1N1 antiviral treatment for people in at-risk groups with flu symptoms is vital for saving lives, according to updated United Nations guidelines released today, calling for greater urgency than earlier recommendations.