Europe will be hit by second coronavirus wave, EU disease control boss warns

Europe will be hit by a second coronavirus wave – the only question is ‘when and how big’, according to the top EU disease control boss.

Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), believes another Covid-19 crisis is inevitable, as governments across the continent begin to ease lockdowns.

The expert believes the public’s willingness to adhere to lockdown rules is ‘beginning to strain’ and ‘people think it is over’, which it ‘definitely isn’t’.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ms Ammon said: ‘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.’

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She added: ‘I don’t know whether it’s forever but I don’t think it will go away very quickly. It seems to be very well adapted to humans.’

A government-led study estimated that only 12% of people in England have caught the virus so far, while only 1% of Danish citizens have had coronavirus, according to an antibody study.

When questioned on whether governments across Europe were too slow on bringing in lockdown measures, Ms Ammon said saving more lives ‘might have been possible’.

However, she said that people needed to see the tragic situation in northern Italy in order to make it clear that restrictions were needed.

People in Britain are now allowed to picnic outside and go for unlimited exercise, as Boris Johnson slowly lifts restrictions.

The prime minister is said to have told MPs that he wants the country back to ‘near-normality’ as early as July.

However, he has reportedly made it ‘clear’ the relaxing of lockdown restrictions depends on the country ‘meeting the conditions that have been set for tackling the virus’.

The Shadow Chancellor has also suggested a second lockdown is ‘inevitable’ – unless the UK can ‘sort out’ its test, track and trace strategy. 

Speaking to on Wednesday, Anneliese Dodds claimed the Government is a ‘very, very long way away from having the right infrastructure’, branding the issue a ‘major problem’.

It comes as another 338 people die after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, bringing the death toll to 36,042.

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