EXPERTS predict there could be more than 1,800 active cases of coronavirus in Basildon.

Data analysed and published by the Zoe Covid app shows there is an estimated 1,814 cases of Covid-19 in the borough as of 5am today.

The app asks contributors to submit details of infections or symptoms of Covid-19.

Scientists from King College London help to anaylse all data collected through the app.

By contrast to Basildon, Southend has around 768 active cases of the virus according to the app, while there are 230 in Castle Point and 260 in Rochford.

The Government’s coronavirus dashboard shows Southend recorded the highest number of new cases in the week ending August 22, with 408.

However, the data does not include people still infected with Covid-19 and only records new cases recorded in a weekly period.

While Basildon is estimated to have a high number of active cases, it is still someway behind other parts of Essex, such as Braintree and Colchester which are thought to have more than 2,000 infections.

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The Zoe app suggests there are nearly 700,000 active cases of coronavirus in the UK right now.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he was “cautiously optimistic” that another lockdown would not be needed to bring cases under control again.

Prof Edmunds said there was a need to be “very cautious” about the situation at the moment because previous peaks had been countered by locking down.

“We’re not doing that this time,” he told Times Radio. “But I don’t think we will need to go into a lockdown. I hope not anyway. I very much hope not.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about that.”

Infections are expected to rise again in September, when school and university terms begin and more workers are expected to return to the office.

Prof Edmunds said: “Will we ever return to completely normal behaviour? I don’t know.

“But there’s a long way to go between the sorts of behaviours that we’re collectively making now and the average behaviour that we were making before the pandemic. There is a big difference.

“If we go back completely to normal, that will certainly fuel an autumn wave.”

It comes as Sage member Professor Neil Ferguson, among the Government’s most prominent scientific advisers on Covid, predicted it is unlikely a lockdown will be needed again to control the virus.

In an interview with the Times, he said: “I think it is unlikely we will need a new lockdown or even social distancing measures of the type we’ve had so far.”

The Imperial College professor also told the newspaper that lockdowns could not be ruled out as they may still be needed if the “virus changes substantially”.

However, Prof Ferguson added that Covid was “going to transition quite quickly in a few months to be more something we live with and manage through vaccination rather than crisis measures”.

He said the vaccine had “dramatically changed the relationship between cases and hospitalisation”.