- The country and the NHS are now better prepared to deal with the virus than they were at the beginning of the year.
- The knowledge gap between then and now has been filled to a large extent, and the public is now more aware of the safety precautions required to be adopted to prevent the infection.
- A second nationwide lockdown could be devastating, in the six-weeks lockdown which was imposed in March, the economy shrunk by a fifth, and the unemployment levels spiked up sharply.
The fears of the COVID- 19 pandemics making a resurgence in the United Kingdom may be coming true. The infection rate across the country has been rising, and Scotland and several other localities in the country are already in lockdown.
It had been warned for several months now that there could be a second wave of the pandemic in the country in the winter months. Based on the previous experiences, several experts had warned that the worst of the COVID- 19 is yet to come. The government, on its part, has made adequate preparations to deal with the second wave and is implementing measures so that the situation does not get out of control, forcing it to impose another nationwide lockdown.
Another wave of infections and uncertainty
Currently, the United Kingdom is one of the worst affected countries in Europe. The country, which saw its first case being reported on 31 January, went on to impose a nationwide lockdown one and a half months later which lasted up to six weeks. Since the mid of September, the country has been seeing a steady rise in the number of infections after nearly reaching the peak.
While several smaller localities in the country went into local lockdowns time and again during the past few months, last week saw the whole of Scotland being put into a fourteen-day lockdown by its local government because of the sharp rise in infection levels there.
Thus, the threat of the pandemic mounting a second wave of attack on the country has never been so apparent making people and the local administrations more anxious. As on 12 October 2020 there have been about 617,688 confirmed infections in the country out of which more than 42,000 have already lost their lives.
Should the situation become more alarming on the pandemic front, the government might have to go in for another nationwide lockdown. The lockdown that was imposed in March this year resulted in massive economic losses for the country. Due to the six-weeks lockdown, the economy shrunk by a fifth, and the unemployment levels spiked up sharply. Institutions like IMF, ONS as well as OBD have already stated that the economic scars of the lockdown will take a long time to heal.
Since the unlock, significant work has been done for the economic recovery with several industries already resurrecting to pre-pandemic economic activity levels. A second wave would mean most of the recovery that has taken place will bear no results. The government policy and stimulus measures that it was able to deploy for the first wave may not be available this time around. However, the greatest threat of the second wave will be the exacerbating of the unemployment levels in the country, which could result in long term structural defects in the country.
The larger global scenario of the second wave of the pandemic
The situation of the second wave of the pandemic is not the same in all parts of the world. Large Asian countries like India and China are witnessing a fall in infection levels, and a lot of the economic activities in these countries is back on-track. In Australia, the pandemic has almost come under control, and other small Asian countries are also much more in control of the situation than they were a few months back.
In the United States of America, the pandemic has also mellowed a lot, while in Africa and South America no alarming new news of a spike in the number of infections is being reported. The situation, however, in Europe has been alarming, which is showing early signs of a second wave of the pandemic. Other than the United Kingdom, France is also showing a spike in the number of infections.
The Industries that would be affected the most by the second wave
The industries whose cash registers are highly dependent on the number of footfalls on their premises are going to be the those, who would be worst affected by the second wave of the pandemic. The hospitality sector, Restaurants, airlines, supermarkets, and movie theatres are among the most vulnerable getting affected by the second wave.
No doubt, the other industries would also see a shrink but not as bad as these sectors. It is worth noting that the last quarter of the year is the festive season when economic activities are in full swing and comes as a big opportunity for the businesses. That would be a big opportunity for the small businesses to recover from the losses they had suffered throughout the year.
All eyes on the early availability of vaccine
If the claims made by the government and the pharma companies in the country are to be believed the vaccine for this pandemic would be available by the first few days of 2021. As and when the vaccine is made available, the threat levels in the country will go down, and it will be able to scale back economic activity at a faster pace. Till that time, of course, everyone has to stay alert and help stop the spread of the infection.