Scientists have warned that Boris Johnson’s plans to return to normality amidst the coronavirus pandemic by Christmas might not be realistic.
On Friday, he eased another batch of restrictions on life in England.
The Prime Minister relaxed working from home guidance – and paved the way for theatres and sports stadiums to re-open.
But scientists are keen to take a more cautious approach.
At a No 10 press conference on Friday, Boris said it was his “strong and sincere hope” that ministers would be able to review the remaining restrictions from November onwards.
They include measures such as the closure of night clubs.
Warning from scientists
However a former chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, said that it could prove difficult to achieve.
That’s because respiratory illnesses tend to flourish in the colder weather.
Cases still high
He pointed out that there are still between 3,000 and 11,000 new cases of coronavirus a day in England.
“It is going to be difficult. We know that winter is when respiratory viruses thrive so it is going to be tough,” he told BBC’s Newsnight.
Come winter, the challenges will be very much greater.
“The Prime Minister said ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’. Of course what we need to do as far as possible is prevent the worst.”
Chris Whitty’s view
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty shares the view of other scientists.
He said measures including household quarantine and a lot of hand-washing will be needed “for a prolonged period”.
The government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance – who had previously warned against easing the work-from-home guidance – told the committee that the winter would be a “very complex time”.
He meant that lots of people usually get sick with other illnesses which are not COVID-19.
He warned there may even need to be another national lockdown.
He said: “As you release measures it is inevitable as you get more contacts that you will see more cases… Come winter, the challenges will be very much greater and of course there is a risk that this could need national measures.”
The Prime Minister announced a raft of measures to prepare for a second wave.
They include a £3 billion package for the NHS.
What do you think – should we listen to the scientists, or are you eager to get back to ‘normal’ life? Go to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyfix and leave a comment to let us know your views.