Covid restrictions including rule of six must stay until end of YEAR sparking disaster for weddings, warns SAGE expert
COVID restrictions – including the rule of six – must remain in place until at least the end of the year, a SAGE expert has warned.
Weary Brits could be facing tough laws to combat the spread of the virus until 2022, Professor John Edmunds said.
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The warning will be a blow to weddings and sports events and came hours after he said a new mutant strain found in Bristol could reinfect those who have already caught the bug.
Prof Edmunds delivered his grim forecast after being asked if the rule of six should remain until at least the end of the year.
Speaking to Robert Peston on ITV, Prof Edmunds said: "I think we're going to have to be under some restrictions for some time.
"Again, it depends on the rapidity of the vaccine rollout.
"If you think about what the Government have said, their ambition is to offer all adults a vaccine dose by September I think.
"But the second dose that is being offered – certainly for AstraZeneca it looks like it's better to give it after about three months, so we would be getting our second dose in the late autumn, or the autumn, let's say.
"So I think we've got a long way to go in order to protect our entire population, and that's not including vaccinating children as well of course.
"So I think we will have to be under some kind of restrictions for some time, unfortunately."
It came after Professor Tim Spector warned "massive weddings" and large sporting events might be forced to keep Covid restrictions for "a few years".
Speaking on Times Radio, Prof Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, said he believes the public should "definitely be encouraged" to meet in small groups when the Government begins lifting its current Covid restrictions.
He said gatherings of up to six people outside could be reintroduced around the same time children return to primary schools.
The Government currently hopes children can return to class on March 8.
But he also warned that "massive weddings" and large sporting events might be forced to keep Covid restrictions for "a few years".
Speaking to Times Radio, Prof Spector said: "I can't see us suddenly having another Cheltenham Festival with no regulations again, I can't see us having massive weddings with people coming from all over the world.
"I think for the next few years those days are gone."
Elsewhere, Professor Neil Ferguson – whose Covid modelling led to the UK's first lockdown last March – said we may still be wearing masks and socially distancing next year too.
Prof Ferguson said restrictions could be in place well beyond this summer despite the UK's vaccine rollout.
The epidemiologist said the current vaccine rollout will have a "very major effect on deaths" but another will be needed in the autumn to "deal with new variants".
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