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Meanwhile in Europe, analysts are saying the ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus pandemic is under way with countries considering stricter and stricter lockdowns. The Chinese government expected the eight-day period from October 1 to October 8 to see a total of 379 million highway journeys alone.
The average number of daily trips was down by around 31 percent compared to the same time last year, according to China’s Shanghai-based Shine news.
However, traffic flow remained at a ‘sustained high level’, China’s Ministry of Transport said.
The state-owned China Daily newspaper reported yesterday: “The holiday week travellers, estimated at more than half a billion, show China’s confidence and success in reopening the economy after a hard-fought victory over the virus.”
China has reported just 280 cases of coronavirus in the last 14 days, bringing its total to 90,689 with 4,739 deaths, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which collects data from health authority reports.
By contrast, in Britain, France, and Spain, the past two weeks have seen well over 100,000 new cases recorded – a significant proportion of their total recorded cases – according to the same dataset.
The UK has seen 134,546 new cases over the previous 14 days, bringing its total to 544,275 with 42,515 deaths.
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Meanwhile, France recorded 172,368 new cases in the past 14 days, bringing the country’s total to 653,509 and the total number of deaths to 32,445.
In Spain, the country recorded 142,345 new cases, with a total of 835,901 and 32,561 deaths.
Several countries have reported higher daily coronavirus cases than during the ‘first wave’ which hit around March.
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However, analysts report this could partly be because testing programmes have been stepped up.
Regardless, Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s commissioner for health and food safety, said last month the numbers were “a real cause for concern”.
Last month, some hospitals in Madrid, Spain, reported Intensive Care Unit beds were hitting capacity.
In recent days the Spanish government has made efforts to slow the spread of new cases by implementing new restrictions, though they have faced fierce opposition in Madrid.
In addition, Scotland this week declared new restrictions on pubs and bars in certain regions would come into force, meaning they will have to close.
In England, Boris Johnson is also expected to announce new rules on Monday as part of a ‘three-tier’ regional lockdown system.
Meanwhile, China’s relatively low cases have prompted speculation about how it has been achieved.
In May, Xi Chen, an associate professor of public health at the University of Yale in the US, published a study which stated “over 1.4 million cases and 56,000 deaths may have been avoided as a result” of China’s national and regional lockdown measures imposed in late January.
However, the researcher told Wired each country would adopt different measures due to a range of factors including “the country’s culture, its social norms, whether people will accept it, and also – very importantly – whether the health infrastructure is good enough to allow more spreading”.
The UK government announced 17,540 new cases in the past 24 hours, citing data from October 8.
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