While the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over yet, many experts are already talking about the potential second wave of the disease. Some think it will not happen. Some say the possibility of the second wave occurring is high. Some are even convinced that it has already begun. Even though it would be certainly wrong to start panicking, it is still advised to stay updated about the situation.
About one month ago, we released an article about possible predictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, many things have changed – from the relaxing of restrictions all across the EU to the rise of new cases in China.
The second wave of the pandemic may not occur…
In the previous article, we reported that most experts expect the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to hit during this autumn or winter. While this information is still valid, some experts think that this might not happen – not in autumn, not in winter, not at all.
Among them, for example, is the molecular geneticist Soňa Peková, who made headlines this March when she was wrongfully accused by the Czech Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch of getting herself infected with COVID-19 after an unskilful sampling of a patient (which Vojtěch later apologized for). She is convinced that the second wave of coronavirus will not occur because in her opinion it does not act as a seasonal disease. According to her, it will disappear from the whole world before Christmas. At the same time, she recommends people not to travel abroad unless absolutely necessary, so they would not bring the disease back into the Czech Republic upon their return.
Another Czech expert, Ladislav Dušek, Director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, is convinced that the possible second wave will avoid Czechia and its inhabitants are, therefore, safe. However, when asked about the possibility of the second wave, he prefers to answer that he doesn’t know and that it would be unscientific to say something else. Besides that, in his opinion, COVID-19 will not disappear for good.
…Or maybe it has already begun
On the other hand, most experts, not only in the Czech Republic but all across the world, are convinced that people should remain vigilant since the possibility of the second wave occurring is high. And not only that; even though the pandemic is not even over yet, evidence suggests that there is a chance that the second wave has already begun in China where the number of newly infected people has been rising again, mostly in Beijing. The recent spike in new cases is, in fact, the highest in several weeks. The situation is deemed so serious that the biggest food market in the capital was shut, 29 local housing estates (with more than 90.000 inhabitants in total) were quarantined, schools and swimming pools were closed, and more restrictions are being introduced in different districts. In addition to that, the number of passengers on buses, trains and subways is limited, and it is mandatory to wear face masks. Some companies have recommended their employees to start working from home again.
It is, however, not only the Chinese who fear that the second wave is already happening – some of the USA’s states have also been experiencing a recent increase in cases. The average infection rate continues to slow down across the country, and the daily increase is smaller than in May, but the number of newly confirmed cases still exceeds 20.000 per day. Despite all that, President Trump is still planning a meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at a stadium for up to 20.000 people. This step might significantly speed up the spread of the disease and perhaps even contribute to the second wave starting in the USA, independent of the situation in China.
Present and the foreseeable future?
In the past few weeks, the Czech Republic has reopened its borders for most EU citizens (with the exceptions of a few countries and one region considered high-risk). Right now, the only problem is the existence of pockets with a higher concentration of newly infected people. After the Deputy Mayor of Prague was tested positive for COVID-19, the Prague hygienists immediately started tracing his contacts and the contacts of people he’s recently met and some experts expect new pockets to pop up across Prague. According to some, it is already happening.
On June 18, shortly after this incident of Prague’s Deputy Mayor testing positive for COVID-19, the Czech Republic experienced the highest increase in new cases in two months – 118 newly infected people in one day.
At the same time on June 18, the Czech Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch, announced that wearing of face masks will stop being mandatory everywhere (in stores, indoor areas and public transport included) from July 1. The only exceptions are places with a higher number of new cases where wearing of face masks will remain mandatory. The regions and cities where this would be the case have still not been decided but an interactive map is being prepared as announced by the Minister. Czech journalists, however, think it will affect the following regions and cities:
- Karviná Region
- Brno Region
- Frýdek-Místek District
- Central Bohemian Region
As of July 1, the restriction which demands that restaurants, bars, clubs, and pubs close after 11 PM, will also be lifted.
Also, from June 22, the capacity for mass events will increase from 500 to 1.000. Trade fairs will also be allowed to take place, though the maximum limit of people present there at the same time will be limited to 5.000. From the same date, children’s corners in shopping centres can also return to standard operation and, museums, galleries, castles, zoos and swimming pools can reopen. Organizers of mass events, owners of shops and restaurants, will no longer have to ensure compliance with the social distancing.
Let’s hope that despite the grim predictions of some experts, the situation will develop well, and the dreaded second wave will not occur. However, if the second wave indeed happens, remember that in order to be able to travel, it might be once again necessary to have a residence permit here in the Czech Republic as it is not yet known what restrictions would be re-introduced in such a case.
Let us know and get your residence permit as soon as possible to be safe in the future in case the pandemic returns. Having a residence permit is the best way of making sure you’ll be able to return to the Czech Republic even if the borders are closed again.
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Sources of information: CRSR.cz, iRozhlas.cz, aktualne.cz, Euronews.com, japantimes.co.jp, novinky.cz, nytimes.com, CNBC.com, seznamzpravy.cz, novinky.cz II article, novinky.cz III article, novinky.cz IV article, seznamzpravy.cz II article, novinky.cz V article, novinky.cz IV article, seznamzpravy.cz III article
Source of the photo: Unsplash.com