Covid: SAGE expert believes it is unlikely England will go into a ‘full-blown lockdown’ this winter

Professor Neil Ferguson said he was “moderately optimistic” about not needing strict restrictions

England is unlikely to need a “full-blown lockdown” this winter as Covid cases fell to their lowest level since the start of July last week, a leading virus expert has said.

Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist and member of SAGE, said he was “moderately optimistic” about not needing strict restrictions with no surge yet recorded after children returned to school.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England has dropped to its lowest level since the end of June.
  • A total of 161,923 people tested positive at least once in the week to September 15, down 22% on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.
  • This is the lowest number of people testing positive since the week to June 30.
  • Test and Trace figures peaked at 390,234 cases in the week to January 6, at the height of the second wave of coronavirus.
  • Professor Ferguson said that while social distancing could come back if there was a “significant uptick” in hospital admissions, there was unlikely to be a “full-blown lockdown”.

What’s been said

Professor Ferguson said: “We can’t rule out some need for additional measures, but I very much doubt we will need to go back into lockdown again.”

He added: “As long as we can roll out the booster programme and the vaccination of teenagers as promptly as possible, I’m moderately optimistic.”

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