The former health secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the results gave “hope after a few difficult months” – but people should not rest on their laurels.
“Acting early, decisively and quickly is actually the best way to contain the spread of the virus and that is what I think Chris Whitty and the Prime Minister are saying,” he said.
“One of the things that often goes unrecorded about Italy has been the way in which they have managed to contain the outbreak of the virus in northern Italy, in Lombardy, and to prevent it spread to the rest of the country.
“Now we haven’t been able to do it for the first time, but it may be that these local lockdowns, while we haven’t seen a big reduction in transmission in these areas, may have. simply contained and prevented from becoming the national epidemic that we have had before. “