Expert says 'no spike in Covid since lockdown restrictions eased' but urges caution

19 July 2020, 19:30

The professor said over autumn 'we need to be ever vigilant
The professor said over autumn 'we need to be ever vigilant. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The UK's national statistician said he had not noticed any uptake in coronavirus since the lockdown measures were eased.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said if people stay "super careful" there could be a flatline in all cases.

When asked if he had expected to see an increase in the number of infections as lockdown was lifted he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that it depended on "how the population works".

He added: "The message has been quite consistent in that we must be alert and we must be socially distanced and if we are really super careful and if we are able to follow all the rules it does seem to me that we should expect there to be a relative flatline at the moment.

"Clearly over the autumn we will need to be ever vigilant."

The professor said the Public Health England (PHE) daily Covid-19 death figures which have been paused had "aimed to look at trends over time".

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

If people wanted to know the accurate data on deaths they should go to the Office for National Statistics, he added.

When asked if the PHE data was fit for purpose he said: "It's really important to recognise that different statistics are used for different things and so the PHE data are basically aimed to look at trends over time.

"If you want to know the accurate data on deaths my recommendation is to go to the ONS data.

"We believe very firmly, as does everyone, that the very best person to take a decision around what's the cause of death is the medical practitioner who is there at the time.

"Someone who has Covid but then gets run over by a bus - it is inconceivable a medical practitioner is going to say the cause is Covid-19."

A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals to 29,181, NHS England said on Sunday.

The patients were aged between 61 and 91 years old and all had known underlying conditions.

The Department for Health and Social Care said on Friday it was "pausing" publication of daily death figures for the whole of the UK after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered a review into claims by researchers that there were "statistical flaws" in the way they are calculated.