Coronavirus is going to be 'one big wave', World Health Organization warns

George Martin
·2 min read

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) figure has said that coronavirus pandemic is likely to be “one big wave” as they warned people to remain vigilant despite lockdowns being eased.

WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said the idea of a “second wave” is flawed since infection rates do not seem to be affected by the seasons.

Instead, Harris said, people should think about the virus as a single wave – since the danger remains the same throughout the year.

"People are still thinking about seasons,” she told a press conference on Tuesday.

People wearing face masks on Oxford Street, London, as face coverings become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
People wearing face masks on Oxford Street, London. (Getty)

“What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and it is behaving, even though it is a respiratory virus, even though respiratory viruses in the past did tend to this different seasonal waves, this one is behaving differently.

"There seems to be this persistent belief that summer is not a problem.

“Summer is a problem. This virus likes all weathers, but what it particularly likes is jumping from one person to another when we come in close contact.

“So let's not give it that opportunity. The second wave idea, we are in the first wave. It's going to be one big wave.

Harris said social distancing was still the best method to prevent transmission and manage widespread infections.

“It's going to go up and down a bit,” she continued, “Now, the best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.

“The season does not seem to be affecting the transmission of this virus currently.

“What is affecting the transmission of this virus is mass gatherings, it is people coming together and people not social distancing, not talking the precautions to ensure they are not in close contact.

“So, where people are in close contact, we are seeing intense transmission."

The comments came as Boris Johnson indicated that the UK could impose quarantine restrictions on further European countries if a "second wave" of coronavirus hits the continent, following the country’s decision to impose a mandatory quarantine for tourists returning from Spain.

"I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic," the prime minister warned.

"It's vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I'm afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine," he said.

"That's why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary."

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