In the province of Ontario, in Eastern Canada, residents enjoyed a wonderful summer and fall — cafes and patios were full, and life was getting back to normal.
The same could be said for the cafes of France, and the pubs of Britain. People were beginning to enjoy life again. Enough with this Covid-19 nonsense, it’s time we came out of hiding.
And then came the so-called second wave.
Authorities in Toronto, Ontario, immediately ordered the shutdown of pubs, restaurants and gyms. This, after these establishments spent thousands adhering to the new regulations, purchasing screens and so forth, and following the new rules to a “T.”
Other province have taken other avenues, including a measured approach, but Ontario is taking no chances.
According to CNBC, “pandemic fatigue” has set in across parts of Europe where the outbreak is on the rise again in some countries that were hailed early on for stamping out outbreaks.
France and Spain are now seeing more new cases every day than they did when the virus originally peaked in the spring.
Israel on Friday entered a second nationwide lockdown, shuttering restaurants, hotels, gyms and more, amid soaring new cases and as the Jewish High Holiday season begins, CNBC reported.
While epidemiologists expected autumn to be worse, the rapid resurgence comes ahead of the official start of fall on Tuesday.
“There are some worrying trends that we’re starting to see,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said Wednesday.
She said several European countries are reporting spikes in cases, including France, Spain, Georgia, Montenegro and the Ukraine, CNBC reported.
She added that some states in the US are also reporting worrying rises just as we approach the flu season, which could overwhelm the health system.
Intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of France are now nearing capacity, Van Kerkhove said Friday on CNN, adding that hospitalizations are doubling roughly every eight days in the United Kingdom.
“We haven’t even started to hit the flu season yet so we’re worried that these increasing numbers of hospitalization and ICU are really going to overburden an already burdened system,” she said on CNN.
According to the BBC, on Sunday France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19.
Bars, gyms and swimming pools will all be closed for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the city’s police chief said.
But restaurants will remain open if strict hygiene rules are in place.
Meanwhile, millions of people in northern England are anxiously waiting to hear how much further virus restrictions will be tightened as one of the British government’s leading medical advisers warned Sunday that the country is at a crucial juncture in the second wave of the coronavirus, CTV News reported.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said the UK is at a “tipping point similar to where we were in March” following a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases.
“But we can prevent history repeating itself if we all act now,” he said. “Now we know where it is and how to tackle it — let’s grasp this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”
National restrictions such as a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs and restaurants have been supplemented by local actions, including in some cases banning contacts between households, CTV News reported.
In Scotland’s two biggest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, pubs have already closed for 16 days to suppress the outbreak.
In response to the virus’ resurgence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new three-tier local lockdown system for England on Monday, which could temporarily close pubs and restaurants in the virus hot spots, CTV News reported.
The speculation is household mixing, indoors or outside, will be banned in those areas put under the tightest restrictions.
“We have a very serious situation unfolding before us,” WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, told CNBC.
“More than half of European countries have reported a greater-than-10% increase in cases in the past two weeks. Of those countries, seven have seen newly reported cases increase more than twofold in the same period.”
— with files from CNBC, BBC, CNN and CTV News