Covid 19 – The second wave and where the UK stands

Several regions across the globe have been hit with second waves of coronavirus. So far, the UK has avoided this. Nonetheless, the UK has been one of the worst-hit western countries by the pandemic. Many will argue that this has been due to a lack of preparedness and locking the country down too late. Some will also argue that the UK (specifically England) has been very slow in introducing face mask laws. The country has since recovered and done well in containing the virus.

UK vs Global Covid-19 Cases

Looking at the above chart, the UK seems to be in a healthy position in tackling this pandemic relative to the rest of the world (7 day rolling average in relative terms). This does not mean this is the end, as many nations have experienced second waves after originally containing the virus. It is unknown as to why, but this could be because of opening borders too soon, the virus mutating, or simply new outbreaks occurring. So what have other regions experienced in terms of a second wave and how have they responded.

Spain - One month after getting the virus under control, Spain has had to reimpose restrictions in the regions of Catalonia and Aragon. The country has since implemented nationwide laws which have seen their nightclubs shut for 15 days, have curfews of midnight in bars, with certain regions including Catalonia implementing seeing complete lockdowns. As a result, the UK and Norway have issued a two-week quarantine for travellers coming in from Spain whilst France, Germany and Belgium have issued travel warnings for those travelling to Spain.

Spain Covid-19 Cases

Victoria, Australia – Having largely kept the virus under control, the region has recently experienced a surge in cases with the country suffering its worse numbers since the outbreak of the virus. As a result, a 6-week complete lockdown has been imposed on the state with further restrictions likely to be introduced.

Danang, Vietnam – Having been praised for taking early action against the virus, Vietnam has had its first 4 cases since April. Social distancing measures have been introduced in Danang with all religious and cultural events now suspended. Masks are mandatory and gatherings of more than 30 people now banned. By taking early action, Vietnam stands a good chance of once again containing the outbreak.

Hong Kong – Hong Kong has now recorded over 100 cases a day for five consecutive days. As a result, venues have been closed whilst people are urged to stay at home. Mass testing is now taking place across the city.

Whilst Hong Kong and Vietnam are having to deal with a second outbreak, their numbers are minimal as they have taken early measures such as mass testing and compulsory face masks. Countries such as the US and Brazil have been suffering bad outbreaks as they have downplayed the virus whilst having less clear strategies on mass testing and the usage of face masks.

If the UK is to avoid a severe second outbreak, it will need to act quickly in spotting local outbreak and shutting those regions down. So far, the UK has dealt with this successfully after a surge in cases in Leicester. A strict lockdown was quickly imposed with the closing of schools, bars & restaurants and limiting social interaction. Some local residents have suggested the lockdown being too broad and severely affected business in some parts of Leicester where there have been limited outbreaks.

The UK is not guaranteed of avoiding a second wave but can limit this by implementing proven strategies as seen in other nations such as mass track & tracing, early lockdowns and the compulsory usage of face masks. As the flu season slowly approaches, the government will need to do all it can to keep this virus away.

Click here for an Analysis on Financial Markets Reaction to Covid-19

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