SCIENTISTS warn face masks and social distancing rules may have to stay in place until next year despite Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Experts from SAGE say while Covid jabs will stop the vast majority of people from being struck down they “are not good enough” to mean the lifting of all the rules.
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Face masks and social distancing rules will have to stay in place until next year, warn expertsCredit: Getty
Restrictions began to ease on March 29 with outdoor gatherings allowed in groups of up to six.
And tonight the PM announced pubs, shops, and hairdressers will all reopen on April 12 as the UK takes its first major step out of lockdown.
He said said the soaraway vaccines rollout is to thank for getting Covid under control and Britain back on the road to recovery.
All pandemic limits on social contact were to be abolished by June 21 as part of the final stage of the four-step route out of the crisis.
It was hoped that festivals, sports events and nightclubs would then reopen and that families and friends could also get together in large numbers.
However, the government’s scientific advisors today claimed that “baseline measures” – including some form of social distancing and masks – would need to stay in place until this time next year.
They added they are “reasonably confident” that Covid will be under control by then, reports the MailOnline.
Papers released by SAGE show it is confident Boris’s lockdown-easing measures will not pile pressure on the NHS because of the success of the vaccine programme.
SAGE’s modelling of the Covid crisis after each step in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown
The PM announced pubs, shops, and hairdressers will all reopen on April 12Credit: PA
However, it is less optimistic about future stages of the roadmap, stating it is “highly likely that there will be a further resurgence in hospitalisations and deaths.”
And they warned the reopening of indoor hospitality on May 17 could be delayed if vaccine uptake in the under-50s dips below 85 per cent.
Modelling by Warwick University, Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine (LSHTM) forecasts a summer surge of cases in the wake of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
They warn this could see a spike in infections which could even rival the levels in January when hospitals across the country were swamped with new cases.
Speaking at a Downing St tonight, the PM praised Brits for the way they have got behind the drive to combat Covid.
He said: “The net result of your efforts and the vaccine rollout is I can today confirm that from Monday, 12 April we will move to step two of our roadmap reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday camp sites, hairdressers and beer gardens, and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.
“And on Monday 12, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”
The PM also insisted he’s confident further steps of his roadmap out of lockdown will be able to go ahead as planned.
He said: “We see nothing in the present data that makes us think we will have to deviate from that roadmap.
“But it’s by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage, and by following the rules that we hope together to make this roadmap to freedom irreversible.”
Pubs and restaurants in England will be able to serve customers outside, while still respecting rules on social distancing and mask wearing, from next Monday.