People ‘must not become complacent’
Education minister Vicky Ford said on Monday that, while the sustained drop in coronavirus cases is “very good news”, people must not become complacent.
“We all know how quickly it can go back up again,” she told Sky News.
A Number 10 spokesman said the fall in coronavirus cases was “encouraging” but numbers were still expected to rise.
He said: “Throughout the pandemic we have always said it’s encouraging when cases are falling.”
But he also said the pandemic “is not over”, and “we should still expect to see a rise in case numbers given the move to Step 4 last week”.
The spokesman added: “The Prime Minister thinks we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, said: “It will be important to see whether the results of the ONS survey this week are in agreement with a fall in prevalence.
“Whilst this (the drop in cases) appears to be good news, I would be surprised if we are likely to see a continuation of this decline and there are many factors that one can speculate – and at present we can only speculate – might have contributed to this.”
He said ongoing coverage of the “pingdemic” means that a great many people have been asked to self-isolate recently “and this could have a direct impact upon transmission”.
He added: “Similarly, the large number of school bubbles that have been closing may also have reduced transmission, plus we are now in the holiday period, further reducing contacts.
“One troubling concern is that people might actively avoid being put forward for testing as a result of messaging that minimises the dangers of infection, or that vaccinated individuals with mild symptoms might not realise they are infected; whilst the latter are likely to represent a relatively small proportion of cases, this could still result in transmission given current absence of restrictions.”