DOCTORS have warned local coronavirus outbreaks like Leicester will spiral quickly unless the data is examined quicker.
The British Medical Association accused the Government of being too slow sharing information leaving local authorities struggling to deal with the virus.
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Representing doctors in the UK, the BMA claimed the current approach wasn’t working and was leaving officials scrambling to keep people safe.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The prime minister has talked about a ‘whack a mole’ strategy to tackle local outbreaks, but this is no use if the people leading the response on the ground – be they public health teams or local leaders – are not given the most accurate up-to-date data possible.
“This is crucial to allow swift action and to protect lives and the health service, and something that is not happening right now.
“This is all the more important given that the ‘world leading’ test and trace app is not in place, meaning local leaders and teams armed with up-to-date information will be vital in containing spread of outbreaks.”
Despite this, it took 11 days for the Government to decide to lockdown the city.
Now the BMA are calling for “timely, comprehensive and reliable information” to be shared with all those involved in the management of new cases at a local level.
Boris Johnson yesterday thanked the people of Leicester for their “forbearance” in dealing with the new coronavirus restrictions – saying “we cannot be prisoners of this crisis”.
The drastic move will see non-essential shops closing while schools will also have to shut.
Leicester streets were today deserted after the news was announced.
It comes as top scientists warned further local lockdowns were “inevitable”.
Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson, who used to advise the Government, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s inevitable we will (have further local outbreaks), we are relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up and that’s a very variable process.”
Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) agreed.
He said: “We’ve seen the epidemic is focal, which is often the case, it’s not the same in all places.
“And we saw that London unfortunately led the way in the UK and now Leicester is unfortunately leading the way and we can expect more of that, so I think there will have to be local responses to local outbreaks.”
MPs warned a failure to prevent local outbreaks could see a second national lockdown.
Michael Fabricant said: “As the Prime Minister has said, the possibility of local outbreaks are high if not inevitable.
“So let’s not present that opportunity and keep socially distanced, regularly washing our hands, and not being stupid and joining large crowds.
“That is the only way we can defeat Covid-19 and prevent a second national lockdown”.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added: “People need to abide by the guidance from Government otherwise we will not suppress the outbreak in Leicester and that risks a second wave of infection across the U.K. with all its consequences for public health , the NHS and our economy .”