Some experts have said that based on the genome sequencing of virus samples, the outbreak in Beijing is different from that in Wuhan
While the whole world is fighting against the pandemic and trying to find solutions, some nations have been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus.
South Korea, Iran, Israel and China's capital city Beijing – all of whom who thought they had overcome the virus, have been proven wrong by an apparent second wave of the virus.
Back in May 25, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned that there might be second wave of the virus even though the numbers were declining in some countries.
CNN quoted Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme saying that "We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's going to keep going down, and the way to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave – we may get a second peak in this way (sic)."
Ryan also warned that a second peak or wave might come during the normal influenza season, "which will greatly complicate things for disease control."
Earlier this week, South Korea became the first country to officially announce a second wave of the coronavirus after a recent spike in infection.
The country had great success in dealing with Covid-19, but now it expects the second wave to continue for months.
The first wave lasted till April, and the number of cases has been going up since last May. Clusters of new infection have been found in the country's capital, Seoul.
On May 2, Iran's outbreak seemed to be contained as the number of new daily coronavirus cases dipped to its lowest point since March. As a result, the lockdown was eased.
By mid-May, mosques, shopping malls, and public parks were reopened.
Beijing faced a similar situation.
On June 9, Beijing's single last active case was discharged from the hospital, the local authority reported.
People finally seemed to return to their normal lives.
City health officials appeared without face masks, temperature checking at building entrances stopped. Public places were swarmed with visitors.
Happy summer days seemed to return and citizens were elated. Beijing passed 56 days without a single locally transmitted Covid-19 case.
But little did they know that for weeks, the virus had been silently spreading and the second wave of the pandemic had already begun.
Just a day after Beijing was announced "Covid free", 52-year old Tang with mild symptoms came to hospital for a checkup and was tested positive on June 10.
Beijing's streak of no local transmission for almost two months was broken, and another outbreak seemed imminent.
Overnight, things changed and Beijing went back to where it was in February.
Xinfadi, a wholesale market located in southwestern Beijing, was found out to be the origin of Beijing's second outbreak.
The market supplies around 80 percent of the city's daily goods and over 10,000 people go there every day.
In Iran, the Khuzestan province was traced out as the cluster of the second outbreak. It was declared a "red zone" in June.
On June 28, Israel's Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced that the country has entered a second wave of outbreak.
"We are at the beginning of a second wave of Covid-19. We have to introduce new restrictions which will cover meetings, wedding ceremonies and Jewish places of worship," he said at a press conference.
On June 15, 668 new cases in 24 hours, the highest daily number since April 3, was reported in the country.
Till June 28, more than 300 people tested positive in Beijing.
Iran saw a rapid surge in cases and on an average more than 3,000 infections were reported daily.
Israel had 16 cases per day just a few weeks ago. According to The Guardian, average number of cases per day is now more than 300.
According to Iranian Health Ministry, the previous highest figure of 3,186 on March 30 was surpassed by the new high of 3,574 on June 4.
The sudden spike in confirmed cases could be the result of three factors – lack of public trust, delay in testing, and lockdown restrictions that were eased way too soon.
According to BBC, Iran had more than hundred deaths every day since June 14, except for June 18 when it was 87.
Only after a few weeks of reopening, schools in Beijing have been closed again.
For additional safety purposes, bars, entertainment venues and indoor sports will soon be closed.
While South Korea managed voluntary social distancing measures and avoided full lockdown, Iran failed to do the same.
In early June, a health ministry poll in Iran suggested that only 40 percent of the population was following social distancing rules, down from 90 percent earlier during the outbreak and 32 percent were following self-isolation rules, down from 86 percent.
The country's health minister warned that as a result of these careless behaviours, they might have to prepare themselves for the worst.
Some experts have said that based on the genome sequencing of virus samples, the outbreak in Beijing is different from that in Wuhan.
A report published in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth mentioned that the second wave of coronavirus "is actually different in its characteristics from the first wave but no less severe".
In the US, some states relaxed the lockdown before the virus was contained and now the number of infection has peaked again. Similar case has been found in Germany as well.
In Lisbon, Portugal, restriction on gathering of more than 10 people has been re-imposed since new clusters were found.
On June 22, three areas in Spain's north-eastern region of Aragón were ordered back into the penultimate phase of lockdown after 33 new coronavirus cases were reported on June 21, The Guardian reported.
Gabriel Leung, the Dean of Medical School in Hong Kong, who was among the first to warn about a global pandemic in the Lancet Medical Journal back in January, has warned about multiple waves to come.
" I think we're adapting to a new normal, until a safe and effective vaccine becomes widely accessible to the majority of the world's population. And I'm afraid until that happens, we're going to be looking at perhaps more than a couple of waves of this pandemic sweeping through our respective population." – he told CBC News.
As the Coronavirus has been often compared to the 1918 Spanish Flu, it is useful to remember that the second wave of Spanish Flu was even worse than the first one.
Experts fear that might happen again, although there is no way of knowing beforehand. It would be prudent and responsible of goverments and public health authorities to prepare for such a a possibility.
Undoubtedly, containing the new wave will be a mammoth task.
Since cities that came close to defeating the virus is now experiencing a second outbreak, there may be possibilities of a third wave, or perhaps a fourth.
South Korea, Iran, and Israel have shown the world that the coronavirus can return anytime anywhere, and any country that has contained the virus may see a sudden surge of the virus anytime. There is no 'one stop solution' to this virus. Until there is a safe and effective vaccine, these waves will keep coming and the countries will have to go back and forth between lockdowns, while we adapt to this 'new normal'.