Britain will not be back to normal until NEXT SPRING despite Freedom Day announcement, Chris Whitty warns
BRITAIN will not be back to normal until NEXT SPRING after a “difficult winter”, Professor Chris Whitty has warned.
The shocking claim comes as Boris Johnson confirmed this week that he will strip back lockdown to the bare bones from July 19.
He announced a bonfire of Covid restrictions – sweeping away social distancing, mandatory masks and orders to work from home.
All other legal limits will be ripped up on Freedom Day for a summer of fun after a gruelling year and a half of draconian measures.
However, freedom may not be long term, according to England’s Chief Medical Officer.
Speaking to the Local Government Association's (LGA) annual conference, Professor Whitty said: “There will almost certainly be a Covid surge [in winter] and that will be on top of a return to a more normal respiratory surge.
“It's going to take quite a long time, I think, to get back to normality and I certainly would be surprised if we got back to what most of us would see as a kind of status quo — before the pandemic — by the next spring.
“Because I think we’ve got this current wave, hopefully there will be a period of quieter Covid after that, and then it will still be quite a difficult winter, especially for the NHS – then by next spring I’m hoping slightly more into a more predictable pattern.
“Because I think we've got this current wave, hopefully there will be a period of quieter Covid after that, and then it will still be quite a difficult winter, especially for the NHS – then by next spring I'm hoping slightly more into a more predictable pattern.”
Mr Johnson this week also warned about the danger of future variants and the toll they could take during the winter.
The PM told the Downing Street press conference on Monday: "We will continue to monitor the data, and retain contingency measures to help manage the virus during higher risk periods, such as the winter.
"We will place an emphasis on strengthened guidance, and do everything possible to avoid reimposing restrictions with all the costs that they bring."
And when grilled by reporters, he refused to rule it out completely.
He replied: "If we do find another variant that doesn't respond to the vaccines, if heaven forbid some really awful new bug should appear, then clearly we will have to take whatever steps we need to do to protect the public.
"But on balance, given the massive success of the vaccine rollout, given the fact that this is a propitious moment, a good moment to do it given the coming summer holidays, the natural firebreak we have there, and given the difficulty of then imagining us opening up in the context of the colder autumn/winter months, I think this is a balanced and cautious approach."
Some mitigations will continue into the months to come.
Brits won't have to wear masks by law, but people will still be encouraged to on crowded places, or in NHS settings like hospitals.
A huge row broke out as Labour and some scientists demanded they stay in place for longer – with even Professor Whitty saying he backed keeping them for now.
Tough travel rules will continue too, but the double jabbed will get more freedoms in weeks.
A final decision on whether to press ahead with lockdown lifting in two weeks will be made on July 12, but the PM said he expects to go ahead with it as planned.
He is confident Britain's well-oiled vaccine rollout will allow ministers to swap tough laws with the public's "individual judgement".
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