Covid restrictions could be re-introduced again next winter

Some coronavirus restrictions may have to be re-introduced again next winter, England’s chief medical officer has said.

Speaking during this evening’s press conference, Professor Chris Whitty said: ‘If we did not do all the things all of us must now do, if people don’t take the stay at home seriously, the risk at this point in time, in the middle of winter with this new variant, is extraordinarily high.’

Professor Whitty added that the risk level would gradually decrease over time with measures being ‘lifted by degrees possibly at different rates in different parts of the country, we’ll have to see’.

He went on: ‘We’ll then get, over time, to a point where people say this level of risk is something society is prepared to tolerate and lift right down to almost no restrictions at all.

‘We might have to bring in a few in next winter for example, that’s possible, because winter will benefit the virus.’

It comes as both Boris Johnson and Professor Whitty cited recent data from the Office for National Statistics, which revealed that 2% of England’s population had tested positive for the virus between December 27 and January 2.

This is the equivalent of 1,100,000 people, or roughly one in 50 of the population. The number represents a rise from the 800,900 people who were estimated to have Covid-19 in the period December 17 to 23 – amount to around one in 70.

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