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Pandemic Ebbs & Rises Again: South Korea, Australia Among Nations Witnessing Second Covid-19 Wave

Students wearing masks rest amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Students wearing masks rest amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

As countries move towards easing lockdowns and renewing economic activities, the fear of a second wave remains. News18 analyses the resurgence of the deadly pandemic across Europe, Australia, Middle-East and Asia.

Spain is among many nations around the world, witnessing a resurgence or second wave of Covid-19. Between the first week of May, till the first week of July, the country's seven-day moving average of daily new coronavirus cases barely crossed 500 and largely ranged between 170 and 450. Since then, however, there has been a sharp increase; with daily new infections reaching peak of 6,900 cases on August 22.

As countries move towards easing lockdowns and renewing economic activities, the fear of a second wave remains. News18 analyses the resurgence of the deadly pandemic across Europe, Australia, Middle-East and Asia:

SPAIN

Spain had imposed one of the most stringent lockdowns in Europe with three months of emergency which ended on June 21. After averaging less than 500 daily cases between May 3 and July 5, the nation has seen a surge in cases and has recorded a total of 56,452 cases in the last two weeks itself; an average of just above a whopping 4,000 cases everyday.

The Madrid region accounts for nearly a third of the new Covid-19 cases in Spain. People in the worst-hit areas have been advised to remain home. Madrid has reported 15,000 new cases and 300 hospitalisations over the last week.

FRANCE

France reported 4,897 cases on August 23 – its highest single-day spike for more than four months since the April 14. The seven-day moving average has been continuously increasing since mid-July even after going as low as 272 on May 27. It was recorded at 3,689 on August 24.

The surge in cases has been largely attributed to people flouting of social distancing norms in big gatherings and parties.

BELGIUM

After hovering around 1,300 cases for most of April, Belgium’s seven-day moving average had reached double-digits by mid-June and only started to increase after a month from mid-July. The country, with one of the highest Mortality Rates in the world (12.18%), recorded a high of 922 cases on August 15 – the highest single-day surge since April 25.

ITALY

Italy was one of the worst-affected countries in the world with most devastation being witnessed in the 20-day period between March 20 and April 10, in terms of number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities. A strict lockdown and other measures ensured that the number of average daily cases went down to 250 in June and 200 in July.

However, there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases in August with a new peak of 1,209 on August 23 – the highest single-day surge since May 12.

The northern Lombardy region, which was one of the worst-affected regions in the world, along with Venice and Rome – are seeing the maximum resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

Rome recorded 215 new cases on Saturday, August 22, mainly due to people returning from holiday from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. It is the highest single-day figure for the Italian capital since March 28.

The Italian government has been forced to take strict measures to curb this second wave of infection. Nightclubs have been closed since August 17 and wearing of masks has been made compulsory in public places between 6 pm and 6 am.

AUSTRALIA

After not reporting a daily high of more than 30 for over two months from April 19 to June 24, Australia saw a second-wave hit Victoria and its capital, Melbourne towards the end of June.

The country recorded a new peak of 721 cases on July 30 – its highest single-day surge, beating its previous high figure of 537 cases on March 22.

Australia’s seven-day moving average reached as high as 552 on August 5 but has since then come down to 194 on August 24.

No Covid-19 deaths were reported in the country from May 24 to June 23. Worryingly, there has been an increase in the number of fatalities since the end of July with 25 deaths on August 17. This is higher than the 8 fatalities reported on April 6, which was the maximum single-day death toll during the first wave.

Melbourne went into a second lockdown from July 9 and Victoria’s daily cases have gone down from a high of 721 on July 30 to 116 cases on August 23.

SOUTH KOREA

South Korea had previously been successful in containing the Covid-19. After recording a single-day high of 851 cases on March 3, the numbers came down drastically by the second week of April. Between April 9 and May 27, the daily count did not cross 40. There was an increase in cases from the end of May but the growth plateaued till the second week of August, with the seven-day moving average of daily new cases not exceeding 58 during this period.

However, there has been a sudden increase in the number of cases from August 14 with an average of 263 daily cases in the 11 days thereafter. South Korea recorded a high of 397 cases on August 23.

JAPAN

Japan recorded its Covid-19 peak on April 11 with 743 cases. It saw a double-digit daily count from the middle of May, till almost the end of June. However, since that period, there has been a sudden surge in the number of cases.

The country’s seven-day moving average rose to 236 by July 10 to 461 by July 20, and then later to 1,442 on August 9. It recorded a single-day high of 1,998 cases on August 3 – more than 2.5 times of its initial peak in April. The seven-day moving average settled at 977 on August 24.

Japan had a total of 18,593 cases by June 30. That number has increased more than three-fold and now stands at 62,507 as on August 24.

ISRAEL

Israel has reported a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases from mid-June. From a total of 19,237 cases on June 15, the number has soared to 1,04,472 on August 24.

The seven-day moving average has been consistently over 1,000 since July 8 with a single-day high of 2,308 on July 28.

The country had largely controlled the pandemic by the beginning of May with no new cases being seen on a number of days in the month. However, the second Covid-19 wave in Israel has been much more severe than its initial wave between mid-March and mid-April.

first published:August 26, 2020, 08:19 IST