Global Fears of a Second Wave of Coronavirus
Global sentiment is becoming increasingly uneasy as fears of a second wave of COVID-19, inflicted by reopening economies too quickly, become a real threat. Global lockdowns and social distancing restrictions are slowing or in some cases ceasing business activity entirely. This slowdown is seeing unemployment rates rising to record levels, comparable to Global Financial Crisis and the Great Depression statistics. Country leaders are juggling trying to prioritise national security while taking the pressure off government stimulus by reopening the economy. Fears of a second wave of the virus have erupted within China and South Korea recently as at least 15 new cases were reported in Shulan and 35 within Seoul. Both countries had relaxed their lockdowns on reports that the strict measures they had initially taken to control the spread of infections had worked.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, is eager to reopen the American economy as increasing strain is placed on government stimulus with unemployment levels rising. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a leading member of the coronavirus task force within the Trump administration, reported that “the consequences could be really serious” if the economy is reopened too swiftly without the correct public safety measures in place. Dr Fauci expressed a real concern of more suffering and death if states are opened up too soon and appropriate safety measures are not put in place.
More recently, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has eased restrictions in the United Kingdom. However, this announcement has been met with rebellion from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who still recommend that people stay at home. People that can still effectively work at home should still do so, however, those such as builders or manufactures are encouraged to go to work. Russia is also to ease its restrictions despite reporting a record number of new COVID-19 infections. President Putin will open ‘basic sectors’, which is to include mining, construction, agriculture, energy and communication sectors. Mr Putin's announcement comes after the country surpasses Britain with over 232,000 confirmed cases with a record daily death count of 107.
Back at home, Australia is also trying to open up the economy in a staged plan to try to curb fears of a second wave. Although, due to there still being reported infections, the number of cases could still rise and pose a risk of there being a second wave. Meanwhile, New Zealand has successfully controlled the spread of the virus and plans to combine with Australia to allow travel to take place within their bubble. Relaxing social distancing rules across the globe will inevitably see a rise in infection rates. Yet, appropriate safety measures must become normalised to combat these risks and continue to flatten the curve until a cure is developed and made widely available.
By Caroline Wong
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