Scientists are warning the government that tighter controls are needed across England, but Downing Street said on Tuesday coronavirus restrictions are being kept under review.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman suggested new national measures have been ruled out for now, but the government will not hesitate to act on a “local basis” if they have too.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, “We keep all of the measures we have under review. But we have recently set out a package of measures with the specific intention of reducing the R rate and limiting the spread of the virus,” the spokesman said.
“We are looking at a wide range of data in terms of the number of positive cases per 100,000, also the number of hospitalisations and people who are moved into intensive care units and also, sadly, the number of deaths.
“We have set out that if there is a need to go further on a local basis then we won’t hesitate to do what is required to protect the NHS and protect lives.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that with students now back at schools and universities ways to reduce contacts in other areas needs to be found, such as an “extended half term” or close bars, pubs and restaurants.
Professor Ferguson added, “So we are in a more difficult position, if we want to keep schools open, we have to reduce contacts in other areas of society by more.
“You will have heard measures being discussed across society as a whole such as extended half terms where we try to reduce transmission for a concerted period.
“I think those measures should be considered.”
Four areas across England are facing localised lockdown “within days” as the missing test and trace data had hidden thousands of infections.
Due to a technical glitch in the test and trace data the cities with universities which include Oxford, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds are seeing soaring infection rates.
Scientific experts warned last week, that universities are “human petri dishes” for spreading coronavirus as students have travelled from all parts of the UK and are sharing accommodation.