18 February, 2021

Covid-19 Update / Talks of a path to ease lockdown restrictions

Scientists, who are monitoring the infection rate of COVID-19, claim that since the beginning of the year, there has been a “strong decline” in levels of coronavirus infections in England.

Imperial College London’s React study shows that the infection rate has fallen by 80% in London and two-thirds across the rest of England since the start of this lockdown.

The director of the programme at Imperial, Professor Paul Elliott, stated that the fall in infection rates is “really encouraging”.

Leading up to the Prime Ministers publication on Monday regarding a possible roadmap for easing the lockdown restrictions in England, Boris Johnson has arranged to obtain new data on the effects of vaccines and the spread of the virus.

Yesterday he announced that it was the right thing to do in taking a “data not dates” approach to coming out of the lockdown, and ensured that England would relax on its measures “cautiously”.

Professor Steven Riley, the study’s author, suggested that the decline in cases in London was “dramatic” and that there was “a strong downward trend since January – better than many hoped for”.

Professor Elliott spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Nobody wants to be in lockdown any longer than they have to be but a note of warning – the prevalence rates are still very high. They are as high as they were in September when they were on the increase and the numbers of people in hospital currently are at a level that they were in the first wave so we really have to be cautious.”