England at ‘critical period’ in combating virus

Our lead story this morning is that the growth in cases of coronavirus in England may be slowing down.

The largest study of the infection in England so far found the R number – the virus’s reproduction number – appears to have fallen since measures including the «rule of six» were introduced.

However, scientists behind the study warn cases are high, with one in every 200 people infected.

Prof Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, who was involved in the study, was asked on the BBC’s Today programme whether the current national restrictions in place were enough to bring the infection rate down to a level where cases begin to fall.

He said: «We do seem to still have a bit of an upward trajectory, but that very fast increase in the virus seems to have slowed and that’s very encouraging.

«But we just need as individuals and as the population to redouble our efforts to follow the guidance – social distancing, handwashing, face covers and making sure that if we get symptomatic that we have tests and then we isolate and our contacts also isolate so that we can really control the virus.

«We’re at a very critical period right now because the virus has got to quite high levels.»

However, Prof Oliver Johnson, from the University of Bristol, said the study’s conclusion that cases were slowing down was «wrong and dangerous».


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