Second wave of Covid-19 'starting to rise in Europe', Health Secretary warns

30 July 2020, 08:05 | Updated: 30 July 2020, 08:24

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned of a second wave of coronavirus starting to roll across Europe
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned of a second wave of coronavirus starting to roll across Europe. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that a "second wave" of coronavirus is "rising in Europe".

The Health Secretary's comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Tuesday that his Government would not hesitate to act if flare-ups of coronavirus occurred in other destinations.

"I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic," he told reporters.

The Prime Minister said the UK has to be "vigilant" regarding the threat of a second wave of Covid-19.

Mr Hancock also hinted that the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for will be increased to 10 days in England.

The Health Secretary told LBC's Nick Ferrari that the Government would be "guided by the science" over the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for, but he revealed there would be an announcement on the matter on Thursday.

Speaking to LBC Mr Hancock warned, "we can see a second wave of the virus rising in Europe."

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam is expected to announce on Thursday that the period will increase from the current rule of seven days.

Mr Hancock warned that a new spike in Covid-19 cases is "clearly" beginning to emerge in Europe as he said "we've got to do everything" to prevent it reaching the UK's shores.

He hinted that Prof Van-Tam will announce the change for the self-isolation period for those with the key symptoms of a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell.

Fears of a second wave of coronavirus have been growing in mainland Europe after both Spain and France recorded surges of new infections.

Authorities in Barcelona implemented extra measures by limiting the amount of people who can go on the beach to ensure social distancing is followed.

Meanwhile in France, face coverings are now compulsory in enclosed public spaces after a number out virus outbreaks were reported.

Read more: Boris Johnson warns of signs of second Covid-19 wave in Europe

Both Spain and France are among the worst-affected countries in the world by coronavirus, having recorded more than 200,000 cases each.

Read more: Quarantine could be cut to 10 days for holidaymakers returning to UK from Spain

The Health Secretary also said ministers were investigating ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals to the UK from at-risk countries.

Asked about reports, he told Sky News: "We're always looking at how we can have the least-possible burden of the measures that we have to put into place so that is something on which we're doing some work but we'll only come forward with a proposal when we're confident that it is safe to do so.

"So again this is very much guided by the clinical science and the CMO (chief medical officer) will be speaking on it later today, but the broader point is that there's a serious concern about a second wave that's clearly now moving across Europe and we need to take action.

"If that means increasing the number of days that people who test positive have to self-isolate then so be it because these measures are necessary to keep people safe."

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