- There have been fears of the second wave of infections across countries that had managed to flatten the curve.
- Fresh spikes have been reported across several Latin and South American countries as well as South Asian countries.
- Increase in the number of cases is primarily seen because of the easing in lockdown restrictions and permit for free movement.
Just as the world believed that the COVID-19 curve is flattening and there might be the beginning of an economic recovery in 2020 only, there are mounting worries over the second wave of infections in countries that managed to control the situation.
New Zealand Reports Fresh Cases
New Zealand, which had managed to eradicate COVID-19, registered two new cases after 24 straight days of reporting zero COVID-19 cases. Two women from the same family recently arrived from the UK via Australia on 7 June 2020 and were permitted to leave managed isolation on compassionate grounds to travel to Wellington. As on 19 June 2020, the country has three active cases.
However, after the slip-up, the military was called in by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern to enforce border restrictions and said that the cases represent an “unacceptable failure” of the system and this should never have happened. To ensure events like this are not repeated, the Assistant Chief of Defence was appointed with the responsibility to administer every quarantine as well as managed isolation centre.
China Reports Maximum Number of Cases in a Day after Months
Fear of the second wave of cases also emerged in China, where the highest number of cases were reported in months on Sunday, 14 June 2020. The outbreak of the disease in China at the end of 2019 lead to severe restrictions on movement to control the spread of the virus, and it would be the last thing that any country would want to reconsider.
The emergence of the second wave in China indicates the harsh reality that most of the countries might not be able to escape at this time when infected cases are on the rise, and there is relaxation for movement across borders as well as domestically. However, authorities were vigilant enough to take a note of the situation and took necessary measures like the closing of nearby borders, carrying out mass testing, declaring travel warning, etc.
Countries had started preparing to welcome people from other countries after seeing the encouraging drop in the number of infected cases and the likelihood of eliminating the virus in a short span. However, the events in China, as well as New Zealand, have shown that with easing of restrictions, there is always a risk of the virus resurfacing. The expect complete elimination of COVID-19 would depend on both domestic and global factors.
Recent Surge in Cases in Iran
Reportedly, Middle East country, Iran also saw a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks triggering fears regarding the second wave of COVID-19 infections. Iran had relaxed its restrictions during April after establishing a substantial decline in the number of cases. In the initial phase of the virus outbreak, Iran had seen a severe and sudden spike in the number of cases.
Multiple European countries also eased border restrictions, mainly German-French borders after approximately three months of closure due to restrictions and lockdowns. However, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Sweden remain under warnings as Spain ranks sixth among the countries with most COVID-19 confirmed cases.
With the expiry of the border restrictions across several European Countries, travellers no longer need a valid reason to travel from one place to another, except some of the countries.
What is more concerning is the rising number of fresh cases in Latin and South American countries like Brazil, and Asia-Pacific countries like India, Bangladesh etc.
Southern Asia is turning into a COVID-19 hotspot after several countries reported a sharp surge in confirmed cases amid easing of restrictions and reopening of the economy in the current month. Moreover, the government in Bangladesh was compelled to reinstate a zone-based lockdown within few days of ease in restrictions due to the escalating number of COVID-19 cases.
Moreover, several countries in the region are yet to witness their peak in the number of COVID-19 cases.
According to WHO, the US has the highest number of COVID-19 cases that stand at 2,149,166 as on 19 June 2020 (11:29 AM CEST). Following the US is Brazil, which has 955,377 cases across the country followed by the Russian Federation that has 561,091 confirmed cases.
Growing Number of Cases Amid Relaxations in India
India has made its way to the fourth spot with 389,532 cases, leaving behind the UK with 299,255 confirmed cases, and has been reporting more than 11,000 cases in 24 hours over the past few days. The country has also reopened its economy amid the increasing economic burden on the economy and the threats arising from the recession.
The country had been in a complete shutdown for over two months, and the government has now resorted to gradually open the economy to recover from the cost of lockdown. However, the concerning part in this overall scenario is the daily spike in the number of infected cases.
Also, as the economies were in a complete shutdown, there were increasing worries for loss of jobs and a crackdown on small businesses. The reopening of the economy and relaxation in the restrictions, directly impact the increase in the number of cases as people start to move freely.
Brazil Opening Economy Amid Rising Cases
Brazil’s biggest cities began to reopen along with the surge in the COVID-19 infections. One of the hardest-hit cities in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro opened its malls too as part of the scheduled reopening of economic activities and easing of restrictions.
Sao Paulo, the most populated state in the country, reported the highest figure in COVID-19 deaths in the past week amid the opening of businesses, shops, and malls. With the easing restrictions, shoppers flocked to the streets and shopping centres raising concerns for a fresh spike in the number of infections.
Overall, as we investigate the countries that have managed to flatten the curve, there are fears of a second wave of cases across those countries. Moreover, several developing countries like Brazil, India and other Asia-Pacific countries are yet to see the peak of the first wave of infections. Despite the threat, countries cannot afford to keep the restrictions going on due to the burden on the economy. With these significant challenges that the world is grappling with, it looks like the immediate development of a vaccine is the dire need of the hour as the spiking number of cases prove to be fatal and unfold fresh challenges across the globe.