- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Lockdown measures that have been implemented in Britain have been working to slow the spread of coronavirus, new data shows.

Researchers with the King’s College London said Wednesday that data from a COVID-19 symptom tracker app among 2 million people shows that the social measures are proving effective to reduce transmission of the highly contagious virus.

The rate of new cases reported across mainland Britain has significantly slowed over the last several days. According to their research, about 1.4 million Britons between the ages of 20 and 69 have reported symptoms of COVID-19 through the app.

The latest data marks a drop form 1.9 million at the beginning of the month who had symptomatic COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The lead researcher at the King’s College, Tim Spector, told Reuters that the latest data is “encouraging.”

“Even though hospital admissions and deaths are still on the rise, we hope that these figures offer a much needed light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.

Britain has reported 55,957 confirmed cases, 6,159 deaths and 332 recoveries from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker as of Wednesday. Britain has a population of 66.4 million.

The new development comes roughly a week after scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the average daily number of contacts each participant came in contact with reduced by 73% since the social distancing measures were introduced.

Although the lead scientist of the study, John Edmunds, warned that the initial findings are very preliminary and should not indicate “job done,” he suggested that “if we see similar changes across the UK population, we would expect to see the epidemic to start to decline.”

Despite the positive sign that the virus’ spread could be slowing, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Wednesday that the U.K. cannot ease its shutdown and social distancing precautions as experts predict the peak of the outbreak is likely over a week away.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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