Boris Johnson delayed the easing of lockdown measures as Spain was added to the UK’s quarantine list following a spike in infections. Data expert John Burn-Murdoch warned the latest figures for coronavirus cases in Britain show a “real resurgence” as cities in the northwest have gone into lockdown. He added cases could increase by 800 percent within a week or two.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Burn-Murdoch said: “The virus will circulate in different countries at different times, the fact that the UK locked down later and therefore eased its lockdown later means we are a few weeks behind other countries in seeing those upticks.
“With a virus like Covid those numbers can increase extremely quickly.
“If we look at somewhere like Spain, the rate of new cases in Spain increased by 700 to 800 percent in a matter of weeks.
“So that 0.07 percent, you could find in the space of a week or two that number could double one day, double the next day.
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“It’s about stalling that momentum because of that exponential nature of how the virus spreads those numbers can go from tiny to still small but considerably higher very quickly.”
His comments come as testing of sewage for signs of coronavirus as part of efforts to get a “head start” on where new outbreaks will occur has been taking place at sites across England.
The Environment Department (Defra) said sampling waste water for fragments of the virus was being trialled at 44 sewage treatment works across England.
The World Health Organisation has said there is currently no evidence that coronavirus has been transmitted through sewerage systems.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are working closely with researchers, water companies and devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to monitor for fragments of coronavirus genetic material in waste water.
“The aim of this new research is to give us a head start on where new outbreaks are likely to occur.
“Sampling has started across the country to further test the effectiveness of this new science.
“Research remains at an early stage and we are still refining our methods.”