Europe’s initial strategy to control the coronavirus’s spread was relatively straightforward: nearly strictly and enforced lockdowns that eventually were proved very effective. After two months since most countries have opened up, improved testing and tracing have mostly kept new outbreaks in check.
But in recent days, Italy, France, and Germany have experienced their highest daily case counts since March and April, and Spain finds itself in the middle of a major outbreak. Government authorities and public health specialists warn that the continent is entering a new phase in the pandemic.
As of today, Europe is preparing for the second wave of coronavirus cases, as continuing outbreaks raise the prospect of reimposed restrictions at a time when millions of people are traveling across the continent to enjoy their summer holidays.
The Belgian government has cautioned that the country could be put into a second “total lockdown” following a significant spike in infections. Simultaneously, the Spanish region of Catalonia may also have to reinstate lockdown measures if outbreaks are not brought under control within 10 days.
Belgium’s Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmès, revealed a series of further restrictive measures but said a second lockdown might be inevitable. “If we cannot reduce the coronavirus spread, it will be a collective failure,” Wilmès said at a press conference following a national security council meeting.
The head of Germany’s doctors’ union, Susanne Johna, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that she thinks her country is currently undergoing “a second, shallow upswing” of COVID-19. Johna re-stressed the significance of following social distancing rules to hold on to Germany’s early success in bringing the virus under control.
In the meantime, the French government is displaying more apprehension about a second wave, with its scientific council warning potential outbreaks could “change course at any moment.” The council predicted a possible resurgence “at a high level” by autumn after finding the virus had been “circulating more actively” in recent weeks.