Fears that a second wave of coronavirus infections could occur this winter now appear overly optimistic, as data suggests that several countries are already experiencing a fresh surge of cases.
And on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said a second wave seemed to be emerging in Europe.
New daily cases in Spain have risen more than five-fold since the start of July, prompting the UK government to reintroduce quarantine measures for people travelling from Spain to the UK.
Global cases are also still rising, with the head of the WHO saying on Monday that it is “easily the most severe health emergency” the organisation ever faced.
“The pandemic continues to accelerate,” said Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus. “In the past six weeks the total number of cases has roughly doubled.”
Of particular concern is that an increasing number of the new infections are coming from countries like Spain, which had initially appeared to have the virus under control.
Early signs of a second wave can also be seen in France, where new daily cases have roughly doubled since late June.
As with Spain, it is still far too early to tell whether a second wave will be anywhere near as serious as the first wave, which was brought under control by strict lockdowns that have since lifted.
A second wave of coronavirus cases that began to surge in Israel in early June has since reached record highs.
New confirmed cases in the country are now nearly triple the peak from the first wave.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, a second wave hit Iran in early May and peaked at around the same level as the first wave.
However, new cases are yet to decline in any significant number, with the second wave lasting far longer than the first.
By contrast, new cases in Saudi Arabia have dropped to around half their peak levels and continue to fall.
Several countries are yet to see an end to their first wave. The US is by far the worst affected country in terms of total cases, and a slight drop in new cases throughout May proved to be false hope of the first wave coming to an end.
The US has since gone on to record new daily highs reaching above 60,000 cases, though there is once again hope that the surge is levelling off.
A similar levelling-off can be seen in South Africa, where new daily cases briefly reached above 12,000.
India is also not yet witnessing an end to the first wave, with the country continuing to see record daily highs of cases.
This is also the case globally: the number of new cases has risen from around 100,000 per day at the end of May to more than 250,000 per day at the end of July.
One of the few countries yet to see a surge in new cases is the UK, though they are yet to consistently fall below 500 per day.
Scientists have described it as a chance to prepare for any potential second wave that could be worsened by a severe winter flu season.
Professor Stephen Holgate, a respiratory specialist from University Hospital Southampton, recently said: “With relatively low numbers of Covid-19 cases at the moment, this is a critical window of opportunity to help us prepare for the worst that winter can throw at us.”
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