Experts believe the spread of Covid-19 infections in England may have gone up at the start of the third national lockdown.

A study found that infections from January 6 to 15 were 50% higher than in early December.

Professor Paul Elliot, who is leading the React study at Imperial College London, suggested current measures may not be strict enough to see a drop in infections and the R rate.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re in a position where the levels are high and are not falling now within the period of this current lockdown.

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Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial, told Times Radio: “It’s long enough that, were the lockdown working effectively, we would certainly have hoped to have seen a decline.”

He said data from previous lockdowns did show a fall, adding that the current research “certainly doesn’t support the conclusion that lockdown is working”.

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