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Expert calls on PM to review lockdown every week as he predicts November 16 reopening

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Speaking to Express.co.uk on the first day of the new lockdown measures, the Buckingham University Medical School’s Professor predicted the coronavirus closures in England could be lifted as soon as November 16 if the Government committed to checking all available data every week. Professor Karola claimed that if the numbers allowed it and the NHS showed it was coping well with hospitalizations, there would be no reason to continue with draconian measures for four weeks. He said: “I think what we have to do is really monitor the NHS situation.

“If the NHS is not…if the numbers are all going down, then I think there’s no need to wait for weeks to release the lockdown.

“And that’s what’s missing. I don’t see any evidence that the Government plans to review it week by week.

“And that’s what I’d like to see.

“I mean, you know, none of us have the divine right to predict what’s going to happen.

“My prediction is that it’s going to be a lot easier and the hospitalisations will start dropping next week.

“But who knows? And that’s the problem.

“But a review of it every Thursday or something, the day we got into it would make perfect sense.

“And then if by the, say the 15th, 16th of November, we find the numbers that are comfortable, the NHS is coping really well, we just release the lockdown and go back to where we were yesterday (Wednesday), basically.”

It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has responded to the Government amending a slide which showed there could be up to 4,000 deaths a day linked to coronavirus by next month.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, statistician and chairman of the Winton Centre for risk and evidence communication at the University of Cambridge, had previously described the data which was shared with the public to justify a second lockdown in England as a “mess”.

Asked whether the Government is presenting “the scariest data” on COVID-19, Mr Raab told Sky: “No, look, we showed models which show what could happen if certain scenarios play out.

“We corrected the slide you referred to and it was the wealth of scientific information that comes forward… we tried to be as transparent as possible.”

He added that “mistakes are made or facts have to be changed, but that is the point of transparency”.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove had promised a four-nation meeting this coming week so that country leaders can “pool ideas, plan together and have a common approach to the Christmas period”.

His comments come as Wales prepares to come out of a 17-day firebreak lockdown on Monday, while England continues in its month-long lockdown which ends at the start of December.

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“I really hope that meeting materialises,” Mr Drakeford told Sky News’ Sophie Ridge On Sunday.

On whether he wanted to see families reunite over Christmas, he said: “The restrictions people have had to live with are incredibly difficult and demanding, and everybody is tried and fatigued of coronavirus.

“If we can offer respite over Christmas that is what we would want to do.”

He added: “The only way to do that is for us to have that opportunity to meet and talk together.

“I really hope the UK Government is serious about this and make certain that those opportunities exist for us all.”

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