A CARLISLE-based academic says the only way out of lockdown is wide-scale testing or a tracking app used on a mass scale.

Dr John Campbell, who was critical of how late the decision to place the UK into lockdown was made, said: “Intensive care capacity shows the measures the Government have taken have been effective.

“The modelling showed without lockdown measures we would have had significantly more people getting sick and potentially dying.

“Anytime we loosen lockdown measures we potentially increase the ‘R’ value (the average number of people an infected person can expect to pass the virus onto).

“It is key to keep it below one. When we loosen measures, we then get a period of potential growth. The Government will tentatively be opening things up to see what happens.”

Dr Campbell - whose lectures on healthcare have been watched more than 50 million times in the last three months - sees only three scenarios that allow life to return to normal.

“If we had 80 per cent of the community that had caught it; we get some sort of vaccine; or if we have a tracing app,” he explained.

“So if 100 people catch the virus, 10 might need hospital care, four or five might need intensive care treatment. If we identify those people, we can stop the spread.”

Takeaways may be the first retail areas to reopen, he says.

“We are a long way from pubs and restaurants reopening. Pubs will probably be one of the last. Restaurants may reopen for takeaway or eating outside, as the chances of transmission outside are low.

“They will need to maintain good social distancing. It depends if we get mass testing - both antigen and antibody.

“The more testing we have, the more freedoms we can have. Someone who has been tested we know they’re not sick - or if they have the antibodies - they can return to work. We’re not going to be in pubs for two or three months.”

Public compliance may be huge, he says.

“The other big factor is if people agree to accept the app. I don’t think we would be in a position where we are mandated to download a geolocation app, but employers might say if you want to come to work you have to have the app.”

The academic believes if 60 per cent of the public were proactively using a successful tracing app, paired with testing of those who are symptomatic, it would reduce the number of people infected to about two or three thousand at a time.

An app is currently being tested on the Isle of Wight, with results determining whether it’ll be used across the UK. Dr Campbell is encouraging people to download the COVID Symptom Study app, which helps slow the spread of Covid-19 by reporting symptoms daily, even if you feel well.