University of Cambridge

Naked Scientist's plan for unexpected virus outbreaks

BBC Breakfast

A virologist, also well-known as one of the Naked Scientists broadcasters, said history could tell us a lot about how to deal with unexpected Covid-19 hotspots like the one in Leicester where a new lockdown is being considered.

Dr Chris Smith

Dr Chris Smith, of Cambridge University and a frequent broadcaster in the region, said: "We can fall back on history because we have got a track record of having dealt with dread diseases all over the world in years gone by.

"Under certain circumstances lockdowns are necessary, but under other circumstances you do things like - when we were dealing with Ebola - a cordon sanitaire.

"What you do is you go in and act decisively in one particular area. You find out where the cases are.

"You isolate the cases and you break the train of transmission,"

Dr Smith added that lockdown was one end of the spectrum, but information-gathering was the most important thing.

"That would help to find out where the cases are, what caused the outbreak, who is giving it to whom, who is most at risk and then where to focus attention," he said.

Cambridge win virtual Boat Race

Cambridge beat Oxford to win the first virtual Boat Race, with both teams competing on rowing machines at home.

Each team of eight collectively rowed 6.8km to raise money for Cambridge-based sport inclusion charity Power2Inspire.

The annual Boat Race between the university rivals was due to take place on the River Thames in London on 29 March, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Three-time Olympic champion Pete Reed, who was paralysed from the chest down after a spinal stroke in 2019, competed for Oxford.

Reed was joined by Paralympic champion Grace Clough and world champion Oliver Cook, while Olympic champion Tom Ransley was part of the Cambridge team.