European health chief warns there could be second wave of virus

On Thursday, the head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Andrea Ammon, said the advisory body believes there could be a second wave of the virus.

As EU countries set out plans to ease lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks and months, it’s feared there could be another surge in cases.

In an interview with the Guardian, she said “The question is when and how big, that is the question in my view.”

“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

“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.”

So far, there have been over 170,000 deaths in Europe, and many more around the world. The pandemic has affected most European countries, but Britain, Italy, Spain, and France have seen the highest number of deaths.

Although governments are taking steps to protect the public and reduce the spread through contact tracing and antibody tests, the end of strict social distancing measures could cause another spike in cases – although the peak has passed.

In addition, the reopening of public places, such as schools, restaurants, shopping centres will be phased in the hardest hit countries; and it’s unlikely large social events will be permitted until much later in the year.

Ammon added that the restrictions have been a strain on families, businesses, and individual freedoms. But, the risk of more cases may increase once normal life starts to resume.

“I’m pretty sure that this contributed to the wide spread of in Europe,” she added, “and especially now when it is clear [infections] are going down, people think it is over. Which it isn’t, which it definitely isn’t.”

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