Experts have warned that England can’t ease the current lockdown any further as calls for COVID-19 testing grows.
Warnings from one of the government’s most influential scientific advisers are stating that the loosening of lockdown may have reached its limits that faster contract tracing is needed in order to adequately prepare for a resurgence in cases.
Sir Jeremy Farrer, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has warned against complacency following cases of local outbreaks of coronavirus which have forced localised lockdowns to be introduced in some areas.
Farrer has said there are growing concerns regarding gaps in COVID-19 testing, and signals that there are signs that England may be in danger of “heading in the wrong direction”.
He added: “The gradual uptick in cases has shown us we’ve now reached – if not already exceeded – the absolute limits of easing restrictions”.
He also said: “Most urgently, we need to ramp up testing. We are not where we need to be. We must improve contact tracing, so we’re identifying more cases and providing better, faster data locally. We need to make it much easier for everyone to get tested, including those who have been in contact with cases or think they might be infected, whether they have symptoms or not.”
Vic Rayner, Executive director of the National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, said regarding the need for more testing: “[Testing] is the only real way we have of understanding how the virus is manifesting. Without regular testing, you’re asking organisations to work with their hands tied behind their back.”
Professor Neil Ferguson, at Imperial College London, discussed how important it is that we navigate the coming months with caution: “As we go into the autumn with cooler weather and schools reopening, transmission is highly likely to increase, perhaps substantially. We need to build on progress so far to further improve testing, contact tracing and the effectiveness of control measures to contain local outbreaks.”