When The Telegraph asked to see the new figures and quizzed the Department of Health on what the chart actually showed, we were given no more information and told it would be “published soon”. 

MPs were also steered towards a study from a US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) investigation which found that people testing positive for coronavirus were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those with negative results. 

However, it would be extremely unwise to base policy decisions on epidemiological data from another country without factoring in differing demographics and movements of the population. The data is also from July, when the virus was at a different stage in the US.

What seems to be happening is that the Government does not want to shut schools, universities and workplaces and cannot do anything about household transmissions, even though these are by far the biggest drivers of disease.  

Instead, it is grasping the one thing it can control – pubs and restaurants. It is unlikely to do much good, and probably paves the way for complete lockdown in the next few weeks. 

Professor John Edmunds, a member of Sage, has warned that a full lockdown at Christmas may be necessary if stricter measures are not brought in soon. 

If the chief medical officer gets his way, the next few months will also be lacking in good cheer. 

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