As the EU continues to ease restrictions on travel and tourism, as well as on social contact, several European countries have seen a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
Because of this, leaders and health experts have expressed concerns that there could be another wave of the virus in autumn, which would coincide with the flu season.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which advises EU countries on the risks of infectious diseases, says that as more countries open their borders, it’s likely there will be more cases.
For example, Belgium has seen an increase in the number of infections, which has lead to a tightening of control measures including reducing the size of social bubbles from 15 to 5 contacts per person.
Spain has also seen a spike in infections, especially in northern Spain. Several countries, including the UK and Germany, have reintroduced quarantine measures for anyone returning from this region and have advised against travel to the affected areas.
Previously, the ECDC warned that a second wave could happen as lockdowns were eased or ended.
Head of the organisation Andrea Ammon, said in May, “Looking at the characteristics of the virus, looking at what now emerges from the different countries in terms of population immunity – which isn’t all that exciting, between 2% and 14%, that leaves still 85% to 90% of the population susceptible.
She added, “The virus is around us, circulating much more than January and February … I don’t want to draw a doomsday picture, but I think we have to be realistic. That it’s not the time now to completely relax.”
The ECDC is working with the EU’s maritime and aviation industries to try and combat the spread on planes, trains, ferries, and cruise ships.
However, to gain a better understanding of how to control the virus effectively, the EU needs to implement better planning procedures, as well as more robust testing and tracing measures.
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