Europe’s concerns of a coronavirus resurgence have been heightened again amid a warning that Germany has already entered a second wave of the virus, while France braces for worse to possibly come.
The head of Germany’s doctors’ union Susanne Johna told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper that she believes her country is currently undergoing “a second, shallow upswing” of COVID-19.
In the interview published Tuesday, Johna re-stressed the importance of adhering to social distancing rules to hold on to Germany’s early success in bringing the virus under control but warned a “long for normality” could hinder this process.
Distancing, hygiene and vigilant mask wearing all continue to be necessary to keep infection levels low, she said.
Johna’s comments come after a steady increase in the number of new cases of the virus reported in Germany — rising 879 on Tuesday to 211,281 in total. A further eight people died on the same day, bringing the country’s total to 9,156.
Germany’s total number of deaths is still much lower than other countries in Europe — such as France, Italy, Spain and the UK — and has been attributed to fast action at the start of the pandemic, along with widespread testing capabilities.
Meanwhile, the French government is showing more apprehension concerning a second wave, with its scientific council warning potential outbreaks could “change course at any moment”.
In a piece released on Tuesday, the council predicted a possible resurgence “at a high level” by autumn after finding the virus had been “circulating more actively” in recent weeks.
It said this was due to people flouting social distancing and other “barrier measures”.
“The balance is fragile and we can change course at any time to a less controlled scenario like in Spain for example,” the statement added.
Data this week showed an increase in the number of people being admitted to intensive care in France, appearing to break the downward trend set in April.
On Monday, the number of people in intensive care had gone up by 13 since Friday and had risen by one the day before.
Increasing numbers of new infections have also led to localised restrictions being imposed, which prompted Prime Minister Jean Castex to urge vigilance across France.
“We are seeing an increase in the figures for the epidemic, which should make us more attentive than ever,” Castex said on Monday.
“I call on every French person to remain very vigilant. The fight against the virus depends of course on the state, local communities, institutions, but also on each of us.”
Looking at the wider data, countries in southern-eastern Europe — like Albania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Romania — are seeing higher case numbers in July than they did earlier in the year.
Serbia, however, is one of the exceptions, posting similar figures now to those it published in mid-April.
And while Spain, Belgium Italy, France and the UK — among Europe’s worst-hit countries — are seeing a resurgence, this is, so far, nothing like the cases reported in March and April.