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Expert warns London is ‘definitely’ at risk of second wave

Tim Spector, Professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London has warned that London “definitely” at risk from a second coronavirus wave.

The leading expert confirmed that there are around 800 new virus infections across London and the new track and trace initiative will only help reduce infections by around 15%.

Speaking to the Standard, Professor Spector said, “There is no way this is going to control any further outbreaks. You need to be doing lots of things together. We mustn’t think this is going to be the solution to all our problems.”

The Professor who founded the tracker app said it is now being used by 1m Brits and cases are “not dropping” as sharply in London as the rest of the country.

Professor Spector told the Standard, “It’s not dropping quite as fast as it is in other parts of the country, like the South West, where rates are very low.”

In a grim warning he said that the problem with the track and trace is that symptoms only really appear after four days, it at all.

He said, “Five days will have gone past… they will catch some but they will also miss a lot.”

The expert warned Londoners to be on their guard over a second spike as “all epidemics start in big cities, generally.

“We have to be most vigilant. That is why I think we ought to have stricter rules on handwashing and checking people for symptoms, and maybe make things like our symptom tracker compulsory. All of them together will help.

“If anywhere is going to do badly, it’s going to be London because of the density and public transport. It’s definitely the one to watch.

“We should also take much more seriously the other public health measures – disinfecting hands any time you go anywhere public. We are not enforcing that. We are not enforcing masks in public places.

“I think if you do all these things together there is a much better chance than just relying on one slightly political [initiative]… it was the app and now it’s track and trace. What’s it going to be next week? They keep forgetting it’s a whole suite of these things together.”

Another expert has further warned the UK over exiting lockdown, as there is a high number of deaths, with strong fears restrictions are being eased far too soon.

Speaking on Sky New’s Sophy Ridge programme, Professor Devi Sridhar, said, “If your objective is to contain the virus, to drive numbers down and to try to in a sense get rid of it so no-one is exposed to it, then it is not the right measure right now to open up.

“It’s a big risk and gamble for exiting lockdown with a larger number of deaths than we did when we actually entered lockdown months back.”

The Scientific Advisory Groups for Emergencies (SAGE) have warned that there is an increased risk of riots if the government imposes localised lockdowns.

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