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Coronavirus Europe: is the second wave REALLY imminent?


British ministers met today to develop travel restriction plans for more European countries with spiral coronavirus infections, as the numbers show that the number of vacation hotspots on the continent is increasing.

The government will announce which nations will be removed from Britain "Air Bridge" list tomorrow after consultation with English chief physician Chris Whitty and the Joint Biosecurity Center.

Spain was the first country to be hit on Saturday with restrictions after the cases almost tripled in July, and rose to almost 40 cases per 100,000 people last week. For comparison: in the UK the per capita rate is around 15.

Scotland announced today that it will impose a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Luxembourg in the country, a move that will almost certainly be repeated in England and the rest of the UK.

A number of other EU countries classified as "high risk", including Germany, France, Belgium and Croatia, are being closely monitored in view of the increase in infections.

While there is no denying that the number of people who tested positive for the virus in Europe has increased – 36 countries saw an increase in infections based on a seven-day moving average compared to the previous week – they are the scientists disagree as to whether it is actually a virus. second wave & # 39 ;.

Some experts say that the number of infections was too small to be considered a real recurrence of the disease and that there were "inevitable" outbreak clusters that would occur if the blockade were relaxed.

Professor Keith Neal, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nottingham, said MailOnline policymakers should accept that spikes will appear across Europe, but they "in no way represent a second wave." He said the countries would have to learn to live with the virus by wearing masks and distancing themselves socially to keep the economy alive.

“We have to learn to live with it. The virus will continue to spread and cause spikes or clusters unless we comply with restrictions or receive a vaccine. I don't think we'll ever eradicate the virus. I think it's likely that the virus has existed for decades and has infected people multiple times throughout their lives. & # 39;

Others said the current outbreaks in some European countries were "critically sharp" and could quickly develop into a second wave that was as deadly as the first, justifying the economically crippling blanket travel bans.

Dr. Andrew Preston, microbiologist at the University of Bath, told MailOnline: “Yes, the number of cases in European countries is small compared to the first peaks in March / April. However, the trajectory of the case numbers is critical. The upswing in Spain was very strong. If this trajectory is maintained, it will not be long before the numbers reach critical values.

“We have to learn to live with it. The virus will continue to spread and cause spikes or clusters unless we comply with restrictions or receive a vaccine. I don't think we'll ever eradicate the virus. I think it's likely that the virus has existed for decades and has infected people multiple times throughout their lives. & # 39;

Covid-19 in Europe: The number of cases on the continent has increased this month, with Spain and Luxembourg experiencing the largest increase in cases

However, the death toll in these countries is still consistently low - however, it can take up to three weeks for people to show symptoms, feel uncomfortable and succumb to the virus before finally getting into the data

However, the death toll in these countries is still consistently low – however, it can take up to three weeks for people to show symptoms, feel uncomfortable and succumb to the virus before finally getting into the data

I'm NOT hysterical: Matt Hancock denies panic about COVID by claiming that a second wave is rolling across Europe

Matt Hancock today denied aggravating Covid-19's panic and hysteria after warning that a second wave "is beginning to roll across Europe" and said there was a "real danger" that Britain would in some cases hit a spike.

Ministers today confirmed that people who are now positive for coronavirus or who have treacherous symptoms should stay at home for ten days according to the World Health Organization guidelines – starting with the current seven-day self-isolation period because there is evidence of this strengthened & # 39 ;.

It came hours after it turned out that Boris Johnson – who fears a second wave could hit Britain within 14 days – told his SAGE advisers and cabinet ministers that he needed to "act quickly" and to increase quarantine measures at home and abroad Days.

Today, BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson has repeatedly asked Mr. Hancock if he is hysterical about rising cases in Europe and the UK as infection rates are nowhere near the peak of the lockdown and are likely a symptom of society's return to one are new normal. Mr. Robinson also asked if he was overreacting because he feared repeating mistakes number 10 made at the beginning of the outbreak, such as not quarantining travelers from abroad.

The health minister said, "No, it is not (risk hysteria). I am the Minister of Health in the middle of the pandemic. We are absolutely determined to protect this country and it makes me sad to see these increases elsewhere, but I will be vigilant and act quickly if we have to, because that is what the virus requires and the virus moves quickly moves, and we have to. & # 39;

Labor MP Chris Bryant today urged ministers to calm down and said, "We need a stiletto, not a sledgehammer," to tackle coronavirus clusters. He said: "It makes me so angry that the government is so relaxed with its language. There is no second wave in all of Europe. In some areas there are worrying signs of single peaks of an increased infection. & # 39;

Professor Neal added that expanding test capacities across the continent is partly responsible for the apparent increase in cases, with more people with minor illnesses being admitted than when the crisis began when many countries only wiped hospital patients.

Experts point out that the number of Covid 19 deaths as evidence of the second wave theory has not yet increased.

However, it takes about three weeks for someone to get the infection, get symptoms, and die. Therefore, it can take about a week before deaths occur on the continent in the data.

In the meantime, there has been much discussion about the term "second wave" itself, which many epidemiologists say is becoming a "scary term" used by politicians. A second wave implies that the virus has been eradicated and has returned.

Professor Anthony Costello, a former official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said this morning: "This is still the first wave." Infection spikes were a sign that the virus was bursting due to the countermeasures taken by governments around the world.

It comes after Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a second wave was already rolling through Europe, which has created images of yet another deadly wave of infections in Britain.

What is the situation like among the high-risk countries in Europe? MailOnline examines how Covid-19 behaves in countries most likely to be subject to travel restrictions by British officials:

Spain

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Spain has registered almost 40 cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks.

On Saturday, Boris Johnson imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine rule for anyone returning from Spain to the UK, where the infection rate is approximately one third (14 infections per 100,000).

The outbreak remains under control in many parts of Spain, but regions such as Catalonia in the northeast and neighboring Aragon have seen a huge increase in infections.

Spain was one of the most affected countries in the world during the pandemic, with more than 282,000 infections and 28,000 deaths.

However, some have suggested that the death toll could be much higher since the country only records deaths at Covid-19 if the victim has been diagnosed.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday that the actual number of victims, at around 44,868, could be 60 percent higher if deaths that were suspected to be caused by the virus were included.

This would give Spain the highest death toll in Europe, ahead of the 46,000 in the UK.

Germany

Last week, the country recorded 3,611 new infections, which is just four infections per 100,000 people.

But it means the nation has more than 500 new infections a day, compared to 350 in June. Germany was one of the few countries to successfully fight its epidemic through extensive testing and contact tracking.

The head of the German health department, Lothar Wieler, said he was "very concerned" about the increasing infections in the country and suggested that the country was in the middle of a second wave.

He accused the Germans of & # 39;negligent about the rules and asked the citizens to wear masks and to follow social distance and hand washing measures.

People are now asked to wear masks outdoors when it is not possible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other – in the past, the rules only applied indoors.

Germany is now also making mandatory tests for everyone returning from high-risk countries like Brazil, Turkey and the United States. Germany has recorded a total of 209,000 cases and 9,212 deaths.

At a press conference on Monday, Mr. Wieler said: “We don't yet know if this is the beginning of a second wave, but it could be natural. But I am optimistic that it is up to us if we follow the hygiene rules that we can prevent. & # 39;

France

French health minister Olivier Véran said this week that while the country "currently sees no second wave," he warned that the outbreak is heading in that direction.

Last week, the country's daily new cases rose to over 1,000 for the first time in more than 10 weeks.

France has increased its testing capacity dramatically since the pandemic started, but Mr. Veran said this could not be the only driver of the increase.

As in most countries, France has a slight flare of infections in certain regions, including the south-west, Brittany and Mayenne in the north-west.

The nationwide R reproductive rate is believed to be around 1.3, meaning that every 10 people on average infect 13 others with the virus.

Experts say that the R must be below for the virus to be contained effectively and to prevent the outbreak from growing exponentially.

But the rate is shifting up from hotspot areas like Brittany, where the R rose to 2.6 between July 17th and 20th, causing local authorities in a resort to close beaches on Monday, Announced parks and bars at night.

Brittany largely avoided the epidemic during the first virus wave, but there are now a number of clusters in tourist resorts.

Locals have accused an unprecedented number of French vacationers who gathered at the seaside when citizens chose their summer vacation because of the uncertainty surrounding travel abroad.

France has suffered a total of 30,238 deaths from Covid-19 and has recorded 185,000 infections since March.

Belgium

Belgium is believed to be one of the countries where there is a risk of losing its "airlift" with the UK. This would mean that travelers returning must be quarantined for 14 days.

Between July 17 and 23, the average number of infections rose by 71 percent from 163 new cases per day to 279 in seven days. The country had more than 1,000 cases at the height of its crisis.

Between June and July, the Covid 19 rate almost tripled from 5.3 to 15.1 per 100,000 population.

The Netherlands has already warned travelers not to go to the popular club city of Antwerp, where the infection rate was up to 31.7 per 100,000 people last week, a five-fold increase over the week.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has advised anyone who can work from home to do so again to prevent a future large-scale outbreak.

As of today, families can only have social contact with five people outside their home.

Other rules stipulate that only one person is allowed to shop from a household and is limited to half an hour in supermarkets.

To date, almost 10,000 people in Belgium have been killed by Covid-19 and more than 67,000 have been diagnosed with the disease.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg, which escaped the first wave of Covid-19 relatively unscathed, is now becoming the European coronavirus hotspot.

With 214.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the Duchy has the highest infection rate on the continent. This is more than four times the Spanish rate and a 15 times higher per capita rate than in the UK.

Since Luxembourg, a small country with only 613,894 inhabitants, has only recorded a total of 6,533 cases and 114 deaths, it is still safe to travel there, according to the UK Department of State.

The country's R rate is believed to be 1.03, which is roughly equivalent to the estimated R in England.

British experts today informed MailOnline that officials in Luxembourg "test all critically", which distorted the numbers upwards.

Croatia

British government ministers are meeting today to discuss whether the airlift link with Croatia, a major holiday destination for the British, should be cut after the infection rate has risen to 12.4 per 100,000 this week, slightly less than in the UK.

However, according to the Croatian authorities, the increase was associated with a number of super spreader events, such as weddings, major events and sports tournaments in the Far Eastern regions of Croatia, away from the popular tourist coastal areas.

The country has had 114 deaths and more than 6,500 cases since March.

Kristjan Stanicic, Managing Director of the Croatian Tourist Board, said on Thursday: 'Guests from the UK are very important to us and we have seen the revival and return of numerous UK flight routes to various Croatian cities such as Zagreb. Split, Rijeka, Pula and Dubrovnik. & # 39;

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