United Kingdom

Covid masks and social distancing may be required ‘for years’ despite vaccine success

The UK’s vaccine programme has been storming ahead with at least one jab given to over half the adult population. On Friday another 752,308 people received their first vaccine, a UK record.

Boris Johnson announced a phased plan to unlock which should see all restrictions on socialising removed by June 21.

However Mary Ramsay, Public Health England’s head of immunisation, warned some restrictions may be required for years.

She commented: “People have got used to those lower level restrictions now, and people can live with them, and the economy can still go on with those less severe restrictions in place.

“So I think certainly for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere, that is when we may be able to go very gradually back to a more normal situation.

“We have to look very carefully before any of these restrictions are lifted.”

The Government is trying to stop any new coronavirus variants that may be more vaccine-resistant entering the UK.

Appearing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned the ban on foreign holidays could be extended.

Currently travel abroad is only allowed under very limited circumstances and is followed by a period of compulsory isolation on return to the UK.

READ MORE: Spain holidays – Nation to lift travel ban from March

Appearing on Sky News he said: “If you completely lift all restrictions, there will be a wave of infections crossing the country.

“Those that are not protected, at this point in time are still vulnerable, they will get infections, and they will probably end up in hospital and die.

“[To prevent] infection going around the country, which means vaccinating everybody, then some degree of social distancing or protection is going to be required.”

In total Britain has recorded 126,000 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began.

This is a higher figure than for any other country in Europe.

On Sunday Mr Johnson tweeted to celebrate Britain’s record vaccine rollout.

He posted: “Yesterday was a record-breaking day for the vaccine rollout, with 873,784 people receiving a jab.

“A huge thank you to everyone involved and please come forward to get your jab when you are invited to do so.”

The Prime Minister received his own jab earlier this week commenting: “It’s good for you, it’s good for your family and it’s a great thing for the whole country.”

Earlier this month Italy used powers provided by the EU to block the export of 250,000 coronavirus vaccines to Australia.

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