Face masks and social distancing 'may be needed for years'

22 March 2021, 07:37 | Updated: 22 March 2021, 07:46

Some Covid measures could be in place for a number of years to come
Some Covid measures could be in place for a number of years to come. Picture: PA
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

A Public Health England expert has claimed that some measures may be in place for a number of years to come.

Face coverings and social distancing could be in place for years until more of the world is vaccinated, Public Health England's head of immunisation has said.

Read more: Boris Johnson assures people 'roadmap to freedom' will not be delayed

Dr Mary Ramsay said that some coronavirus measures may need to stay in place until the number of cases across the globe has come down.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday (Sunday 21 March), she said: "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.

Face masks are currently mandatory in places like shops and public transport
Face masks are currently mandatory in places like shops and public transport. Picture: PA

"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."

Last month, a group of scientific advisors warned the government that "maintaining a baseline of policies which reduce transmission" will be necessary for the future.

Read more: Supermarket rules updated as lockdown eases in England

Professor Jeremy Brown, who is part of the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation, recently said that 'some degree' of social distancing measures will need to remain in place until at least July.

Some Covid measures could remain in place beyond lockdown
Some Covid measures could remain in place beyond lockdown. Picture: PA

Professor Brown told Sky: "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."

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