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Coronavirus: Is a second wave of infection possible?

As the virus continues to spread across the globe, experts warn that a second wave could be imminent if people do not adhere to governments' restrictive measures.

Científicos buscan hallar la cura para el coronavirus.
Sven Hoppe/dpa

As Spain now completes two weeks of lockdown enforced by its president, Pedro Sánchez, after declaring a state of emergency starting on 14 March, the number of those infected and the death toll in the country continue to rise. However, the number of recoveries is also growing on a daily basis and it is now those discharged from hospital who have become the focus to ensure a second wave of infection does not take hold. 

"This is not a sprint but a marathon"

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, warns that up to 60% of coronavirus cases have been registered in Europe and that at no point should people be letting their guard down, particularly if the numbers of those to have contracted the virus starts to drop. "Italy, which has the highest number of cases in the region, has just seen a slightly lower rate of increase, though it is still too early to say that the pandemic is peaking in that country," Kluge said.

“We must be aware that we are facing a new reality: This is not a sprint race but a marathon, and once the restrictive measures are lifted there could be a second or third peak of cases,” Kluge told reporters.

Being united to fight coronavirus

Kluge was also quick to stress the importance of leaving individualism behind and talked of being united and putting health at the top of the political agenda, particularly after the divisions that have opened this week in Europe, with Spain and Italy, the worst hit by the virus, and Germany, Netherlands, Finland and Austria disagreeing over an aid package to fight Covid-19.

The WHO also reported that Asia is better prepared to overcome such a pandemic after prior experience of other healthcare crises. "Their societies are better prepared for drastic measures," Hans Kluge added, in reference to other forms of virus, for instance SARS and MERS. He concluded by underscoring the importance of striking a balance between such extreme measures and health, the socioeconomic impact and human rights.



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