Local lockdowns fail to suppress coronavirus as cases continue to rise

Local lockdowns fail to suppress coronavirus as cases continue to rise
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Local lockdowns have failed to get coronavirus cases under control, according to new analysis.

At the moment one in four Brits are living under enhanced restrictions due to high infection rates in certain areas.

Of the 48 towns, cities and districts where these local lockdowns are being enforced, only one – Luton in Bedfordshire – has been released from the measures.

Stockport in Greater Manchester and Wigan in Lancashire did break free, but have since been made to impose extra restrictions on socialising.

Luton appears to be teetering on the edge of being returned to lockdown again.

All of the other areas where people are living under enhanced restrictions are still recording case rises, analysis by The Telegraph shows.

The professor suggested better testing was needed

Prof Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “Local measures are often having disappointing results.

“National lockdown using the same control measures would likely have the same poor result.

“In my view, all this shows that much more community testing is needed to identify cases and that contact tracing isn’t yet good enough.”

Crunching the numbers shows that local lockdowns can suppress the virus in the short term but does little over several months.

Only one area has been taken out and remained out of local lockdown

Oldham, which has been under local lockdown since July 31 is now recording huge weekly case numbers of 139 per 100,000.

Prof Carl Heneghan, who is director of the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford University, said the situation in Oldham is a good example of restrictions having “no impact”.

He suggested that suppressing the virus during the summer may just delay a spike until the winter.

Leicester was the first place in the UK to be put under local lockdown on June, with cases per 100,000 people dropping to 27 by August.

A month later that figure had rocketed up to 90 and stricter measures were reintroduced.

The analysis raises questions about how affective new measures introduced nationwide will be.

Local lockdowns have not led to cases falling

These included a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, as announced by Boris Johnson last week.

Additional punitive powers to enforce curbs on freedoms may help to keep people inside and away from each other.

People across England will be legally required to self-isolate from this week if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service.

If they do not they risk being hit with new fines starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

A woman arrives at a testing station in Stockport

People who test positive for Covid-19 will also be fined if they knowingly provide false information about close contacts to the test and trace service.

The DHSC said that police will check compliance in the highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups based on “local intelligence”.

High profile and “egregious” cases of non-compliance will be investigated and prosecuted while action will be taken on tip-offs from “third parties” about people who have tested positive but are not self-isolating, the DHSC added.

But people on low incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will also be eligible for a new £500 test and trace support payment, it added.

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