British experts insist Coronavirus lockdown should not be eased until ‘track and trace’ is a success

Signs encouraging commuters to wear protective face masks are on display in a bus stop in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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Boris Johnson should resist calls to ease the lockdown including reopening schools until a new system to trace the spread of coronavirus is a proven success, according to two members of the government’s scientific advisory council.

The prime minister must decide in the next 10 days whether to reopen schools and allow those in non-essential jobs to return to work at the start of June, something he set as an ambition in an address to the nation 10 days ago.

However Sky News understands that the government has been warned by its scientific advisers not to proceed until the “contact tracing” system is up and running and, importantly, is a proven success.

Downing Street has not said when contract tracing will start, nor given many details of how it will operate.

One Whitehall official said that “lots of work” is going on to have it ready as soon as possible, and they hoped to have a start date “in a few days”.

A smartphone app, which will eventually form part of the contact tracing process, is unlikely to be ready for several weeks.

Read more via Sky News

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