A third wave of coronavirus could surge across Europe early next year if lockdown measures are lifted too early across the continent, a World Health Organisation (WHO) source has warned.
In a message to European leaders, the WHO’s Covid-19 envoy told a Swiss Newspaper that “if they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year.”
Europe’s coronavirus response has been ‘incomplete’
Speaking to Solothurner Zeitung, Dr David Nabarro said Europe’s response to the pandemic so far has been “incomplete,” contrasting the approach with that of East Asia, where restrictive measures have remained in place, even when case numbers have come right down.
Mr Nabarro said that governments have “missed building up the necessary infrastructure during the summer months, after they brought the first wave under control.”
A number of countries in Europe have suffered significant second waves of the virus, including France, Austria, Germany and Italy, as well as the UK.
This comes as Boris Johnson has announced plans for the UK to relax coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period, though the Prime Minister said it is “the season to be jolly careful.”
‘A vaccine isn’t an instant fix’
There have been significant breakthroughs in the development of a coronavirus vaccine in recent months, with three firms announcing various levels of success after extensive trials.
While a successful vaccine has been thought of by many as a way to bring life quickly back to normal, scientists have warned that this could still take a long time.
A report by researchers brought together by the Royal Society warned that we need to be “realistic” about what a vaccine will be able to do, and how quickly its impact will be felt.
Professor Nilay Shah, head of chemical engineering at Imperial College London, said, “Even when the vaccine is available it doesn’t mean within a month everybody is going to be vaccinated, we’re talking about six months, nine months, a year.”