SOCIAL distancing measures will remain until at least autumn to control the spread of Covid under proposed Government rules, it has been reported.
Plans being considered by ministers to reduce the spread of Covid and plot a route out of lockdown include the assumption that people will wear face masks and stay at least a metre apart from each other for months.
Face masks will be part of daily life in the UK for monthsCredit: AFP – Getty
Scientists believe that the restrictions may need to be in place until the end of the year, marking months more misery for families and friends desperate to get together.
“The thinking is that social distancing will need to be in place for a long time to come,” a Whitehall source told The Times.
“It has repercussions for the scale of any reopening. Restaurants, pubs and offices will all need to be Covid-secure.”
Ministers believe continuing social distancing for longer will allow other rules to be relaxed.
The news comes as:
A government source said: “The more restrictions we have in place like social distancing rules the more we can do in terms of easing.”
But a “variety of options” are under discussion, so it is not yet clear whether social distancing will still remain in place for different households.
Britain is on course to hit its hugely ambitious target of offering the jab to 15 million vulnerable people by mid-February.
Nearly 450,000 were jabbed yesterday as it emerged deaths have dropped by a quarter in a week and cases by 34 per cent.
The PM has vowed to share his plan for leaving lockdown on February 22.
But Covid rules should remain in place “until the adult population is vaccinated,” a top medic has warned.
Dr Susan Hopkins said that each phase of easing coronavirus restrictions would need to be watched “very carefully”.
The Covid-19 strategic response director at Public Health England said we will need to “watch very carefully as we ease up in these national restrictions,” taking time to “watch and monitor at each phase”.
She told Sky News: “I think that once we get to a very low level of community, we will need to have ongoing measures in place until the adult population are vaccinated.
“What those measures are, we will have to watch and see, but I think it is really important that we keep the rates as low as possible for as long as possible this year.”