Ongoing concerns about the lifting of lockdown restrictions risking a potential second wave of COVID-19 have been somewhat legitimised by a growing number of cases in countries which have lifted their lockdowns. Some countries that experienced a significant drop in new coronavirus cases in April and May are now beginning to experience a worrying uptick in confirmed cases.
The latest batch of loosened lockdown restrictions has sparked joy and anxiety in many members of the public, with conflicting messages from top doctors and scientists who say the UK is treading a dangerous path to a second wave if lockdown is abandoned too soon.
Ministers have been warned that urgent action is needed to prevent further loss of life and to protect the economy amid growing fears of a renewed outbreak in the winter.
The appeal is backed by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing, as a further 154 deaths were confirmed by the government on Wednesday.
In an open letter to the leaders of all the UK political parties published in the British Medical Journal, health leaders call for a “rapid and forward-looking assessment” of the state of national preparedness in the event of a renewed flare-up.
They said: “While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk.
“Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.
“The job now is not only to deal urgently with the wide-ranging impacts of the first phase of the pandemic, but to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to contain a second phase.”
Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week the two-metre rule is being relaxed and that swathes of the hospitality sector will be permitted to trade again from July 4.
Turkey – Turkey is second only to Iran in the middle east region in number of cases, and is showing early signs of a potential second wave.
USA – The USA has failed to drop below 20,000 new cases a day since April 1.
Some countries, like India and Mexico, have not yet reached the peak of their first waves, nevermind a second.
India is now reporting 10,000 cases a day and the numbers are continually on the rise.
Latin and South American countries are also progressing through their first waves, with countries like Brazil and Peru becoming particularly badly affected.
In May, China put several regions into severe lockdowns after cases rose suddenly after previous lockdowns had been put to bed.
A new outbreak also appears to be taking hold in Beijing, though official figures from the Chinese capital suggest that it is still relatively small.
There have been more than 170 new cases of COVID-19 in China since last week.
This is the biggest increase since the virus’s spread was close to being eliminated in April.