An Oxford scientist advising the Government has backed the idea of a short national circuit breaker lockdown to bring 'eye-watering' Covid cases down.

Sir John Bell has said the measure may be necessary as he described other measures as 'biting around the edges'.

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The regius professor of medicine at Oxford University told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I can see very little way of getting on top of this without some kind of a circuit-breaker because the numbers are actually pretty eye-watering in some bits of the country and I think it’s going to be very hard to get on top of this just biting around the edges.

“I think there will be every effort to keep schools open.

“If in the end we have to take kids out for two weeks, calm it all down, and then start ideally embedded in a much more rigorous testing regime then that’s maybe what we may have to do.”

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The Prime Minister has been resisting calls to implement a national lockdown over the October half term as he favours local measures, but said on Friday that he 'can’t rule anything out'.

Sir John also said it was 'possible' to get to one million coronavirus tests a day by Christmas, but said there would be significant logistical challenges.

He said: “Setting these targets is sometimes not that helpful but I do think that it‘s possible with the technology that’s coming online.

“The problem is, how do you get the swabs out of people’s mouths to the centres, the big labs, how do you get them out of the packaging, how do you get them into the workflow and how do you capture the data at the end?

“As always, it’s not the bit in the middle, it’s the front end and the backend that’s really the limiting factor and people are working on – the logistics.”