"We're blinded by the people we're not testing," says infectious disease expert

8 September 2020, 11:52 | Updated: 8 September 2020, 12:01

By Fiona Jones

"We're blinded by the people we're not testing, we're only firefighting": infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania explains what the UK must do to avoid another spike.

Infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania told Nick, "I hope we won't have another national lockdown as we haven't got the stamina for it.

"We didn't succeed with the first lockdown...[because] our cases went down but they didn't go down, down and down and remain so low that we could start opening up.

"We've never had a proper full lockdown, it was almost partial, and as a result we've maintained a background level of cases, high enough for us to remain concerned."

Nick asked whether the expert was suggesting we stay in lockdown "forever" to which he replied that the country instead "needs to get its act together."

"We&squot;re blinded by the people we&squot;re not testing," says infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania
"We're blinded by the people we're not testing," says infectious disease expert Dr Bharat Pankhania. Picture: LBC

Dr Bharat said: "If we enabled local testing and local contact tracing, we'd be in a much better place. For example, we are partially testing. People can get on to the internet, book a test and then drive to a test centre and then get tested.

"So we are blinded by the people that we are not testing. If we don't know where the case rises are, we are not able to act until much later on.

"We're only firefighting rather than having the knowledge in advance and testing extensively, and then acting well before the rising tide appears."

Nick countered that children must go back to school which Dr Bharat agreed with: "This is why I am still pleading let us get our surveillance systems right. Get the local authorities, the local public health people, the local clinicians working on contact tracing, as well as enable them to undertake testing.

"Why can't you have a test at your general practice? Why do you have to go far away to a test centre?"

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

The Foreign Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'What's the difference between a Russian invasion and incursion?' Nick grills minister

Julian Richer appeared on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Wednesday.

Business leader and former Tory donor 'couldn't believe you could buy access to ministers'

Cycling laws are due to change, years after the Charlie Alliston case

Killer cyclists face prosecution under historic new law welcomed by campaigners

Cyclist doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

Nick Ferrari attacks cyclist who doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

The Transport Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Covid travel rules 'kind of back to good old days', Transport Secretary says

Katharine Birbalsingh insisted strict uniform codes are needed

Social mobility tsar: Pupils will bring knives to school if you don't enforce uniform code

The distraught caller was speaking to Nick Ferrari

'I can't afford my heating': Caller bursts into tears as cost of living crisis laid bare

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to LBC this morning

'Less than half my office is back at work': Business Sec Kwasi Kwarteng reveals in WFH row

Rachel Reeves spoke to Nick Ferrari this morning

Shadow Chancellor: Tax North Sea gas firms to help struggling families

Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, has welcomed the return to the office.

'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Nick Ferrari hit out at the former Tory MP

Nick Ferrari: It is shameful that Christian Wakeford defected to Labour with no by-election

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Gary Neville "brings life to politics".

'He brings life to politics': Andy Burnham welcomes Gary Neville to the Labour team

Andy Burnham has said he cannot see how the Prime Minister can survive the partygate scandal.

Isn’t it time to go Boris? Andy Burnham tells LBC ‘I don’t see how the PM can survive’

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch LIVE from 9am

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch Again

James Heappey has said he is giving the PM the benefit of the doubt.

Boris 'deserves the benefit of the doubt' over partygate scandal, minister insists

Mr Heappey said Prince Andrew had been 'moved from public view'

Prince Andrew's Epstein and Maxwell links ‘horrifically ill-advised,' minister tells LBC