Most parts of England have recorded zero coronavirus cases in the past month, which an expert has claimed makes a second national lockdown unnecessary.
Birmingham City University professor John Clancy warned fears of putting the nation into a second lockdown was based on “dodgy data”.
In a blog post, Dr Clancy said: “91% of England (that’s 51million people) live in neighbourhoods where there hasn’t been a recorded Covid-19 case in the past four weeks.”
He continued: “So-called ‘spikes’ are occurring here, there, and everywhere up and down the country because new testing regimes are causing them either with false positives, picking up residual infections or, usually more likely, suddenly increased testing in specific areas.
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“‘Just in case’ lockdowns are simply not an acceptable response to dodgy data. And lockdowns cause deaths.”
Scientists advising the government have warned another UK-wide coronavirus lockdown could happen should cases spike.
Already Covid-19 cases have spiked in other European countries – most notably Spain and France – are now seeing an increase of cases.
In the UK, cities such as Leicester and regions in northern England have faced local lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
But, Professor Clancy – who is also the former leader of Birmingham City Council – warned current testing numbers are “low and unreliable”.
He added: “The reality is that increased and more widespread testing is leading, oddly enough, to finding more cases.
“This has not broadly led to increases in Covid-19 related deaths and hospital admissions in other so-called hotspots.”
The professor later said government data which showed 87 of Birmingham’s 132 neighbourhoods did not record a single positive coronavirus case last week.
He added that a 40% jump in cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks was actually just six people.
Dr Clancy continued: “These are micro-numbers, and talking about them in terms of spikes just won’t do. It’s certainly not enough to spark policy change.”
Meanwhile, other experts have said the Covid-19 r rate will rise above 1 when schools reopen.
Professor Chris Whitty said there were “no risk-free options” for the Government.
The infection risk for children is considered to be low but with 453,000 teachers returning to work and parents gathering at school gates before and after school localised outbreaks may be inevitable.
Professor Whitty has issued a joint statement with three of his colleagues saying they believe say the overall benefits of getting children back into classes after nearly six months at home will outweigh the dangers.
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