Social distancing and mask-wearing ‘could last for years’, expert claims

Social distancing and face masks may have to stay in place for years, an expert claims.

Mary Ramsay, Public Health England's head of immunisation, warned they may be needed until all countries have successfully rolled out coronavirus jabs.

She said normality may not resume until then.

Under the Government’s roadmap, lockdown will be eased in stages over the coming weeks in England.

Beer gardens will open from April 12 at the earliest, while the aim is for all legal limits on social contact to be removed from June 21.

But Dr Ramsay said basic measures may have to remain in place, such as face coverings in crowded places and social distancing.

Asked if Brits should expect mask wearing and social distancing to go on for a long period of time, she told BBC's Andrew Marr: "I think yes, I think we are talking about quite a long period of time.

“People have got used to those lower level restrictions now, and people can live with them, and the economy can still go on with those less severe restrictions in place.

"So I think certainly for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere, that is when we may be able to go very gradually back to a more normal situation.

"We have to look very carefully before any of these restrictions are lifted."

"I think it's very important that we don't relax too quickly."

  • Royals 'need to figure out Meghan and Harry's agenda' to 'repair' Oprah chat 'damage'

A return of big spectator events would also require careful monitoring and clear instructions about staying safe, she added.

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said some rules would have to stay in place until at least July.

He warned a "very large number" of at-risk people could develop a "serious" Covid-19 infection if restrictions are lifted now.

Between 90% and 95% of people who are at high risk have had a vaccine.

Get latest news headlines delivered free

Want all the latest shocking news and views from all over the world straight into your inbox?

We've got the best royal scoops, crime dramas and breaking stories – all delivered in that Daily Star style you love.

Our great newsletters will give you all you need to know, from hard news to that bit of glamour you need every day. They'll drop straight into your inbox and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

You can sign up here – you won't regret it…

But it has been mostly with one dose which does not provide full protection, he added.

He told Sky News: "If you lift restrictions, even though most people who are at risk have been vaccinated, the proportion who have not still represent a very large number of people who could end up with serious infection.”

Some “degree of social distancing or protection is going to be required” to prevent infection going around the country, he added.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned it would be “premature" to start booking summer holidays abroad.

He said it would be “risky” until two task forces set up by the Government to look at the issues of vaccine passports and global travel report in April.

The minister said: "I haven't booked my holiday.

“I think it would be premature to do that. It would be potentially risky."

Source: Read Full Article