17 January 2022,   10:29
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UK will need social distancing until at least end of year - the Government’s chief medical officer

Social distancing will be needed until at least the end of the year to prevent fresh outbreaks of coronavirus even though the UK has reached the peak of the current epidemic, the government’s chief medical officer has said to The Guardian.


Chris Whitty, the UK’s most senior medic, said it was important to be realistic that “highly disruptive” social distancing would need to be in place for “really quite a long period of time”.


He said there was only an “incredibly small” chance of a vaccine or treatments being ready for use this year, and social distancing would have to stay in place to suppress outbreaks until then.


His stark assessment dampened hopes that the lockdown would be largely removed when it is reviewed in just over a fortnight.


“We have to be very realistic. If people are hoping it’s suddenly going to move from where we are in lockdown to where suddenly into everything is gone, that is a wholly unrealistic expectation. We are going to have to do a lot of things for really quite a long period of time, the question is what is the best package and this is what we’re trying to work out. If you release more on one area, you have to keep on board more of another area so there’s a proper trade-off and this is what ministers are having to consider”, - concluded Whitty.

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