Second wave of COVID-19 plunges Europe into lockdown

Adam Jack Chinnery, Contributing Writer

After a summer of relatively low activity, cases have reached an all-time high in the United Kingdom with an average of over 13,000 incidents a day the week beginning October 5, according to the latest Public Health England (PHE) statistics-although there was no mass testing during the first wave. This wave appears much more regionalized, with the North of England and Scotland bearing the brunt of the cases according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). However, hospitalizations and deaths are considerably lower than before.

Universities in Britain are panicking about whether to switch to online teaching, with two in Manchester already doing this, and there are stories of students left in their residence halls with little support. Restaurants, pubs and bars cannot sell alcohol in central Scotland and its likely similar laws will be implemented in the North of England soon as well. Social gatherings have been limited to six people in what has been called the ‘rule of six’. Additionally, earlier this week, PHE admitted that the national test and trace system in the UK missed 16,000 cases in one week due to an Excel error.

The government implemented an increase in the minimum fine for breaches of the rules from £100 to £200, reported the BBC. Meanwhile, support for the government is falling, the current lead for the incumbent Conservatives has dwindled from 25% to 2% with the Labour Party according to the Britain Elects polling averages.

Meanwhile in Germany, 38,000 people marched in Berlin against the restrictions imposed by the government there on the August 30, although this was mostly condemned and is considered to be ‘far right’ by a handful of German politicians including vice chancellor Olaf Scholz, in part due to the presence of far right flags according to BBC reports.

France and Spain also seem to be having a very difficult time getting cases down as well, with some regions of France, including Paris, having to close bars and restaurants whilst face masks must be worn at all times whilst in public in Spain.

Italy has managed to see cases stay relatively stable up until recently, although the Ministry for Health reported 4,458 new cases on October 8. In response-across the country-it is now compulsory to wear face masks at all times while in public, arrivals from some European countries must have a test on arrival and unlike its first wave, cases are increasing equally on a national level, despite it previously hitting the North the hardest, according to the ECDC.

Cases remain steady in Sweden, where schools did not close and self-isolation was voluntary, however, as Sweden has a less dense population than most of Europe, it’s difficult to see whether or not it would work across the whole continent. YouGov polling has shown that a majority of people support new additional measures.