Brits warned face masks may have to be worn for another year

9 December 2020, 08:17 | Updated: 9 December 2020, 15:05

Brits have been told they may have to wear face masks until next winter
Brits have been told they may have to wear face masks until next winter. Picture: PA
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that we are unlikely to be back to normal next Spring.

Brits have been warned that they may need to wear face masks until next winter, despite the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Sir Patrick Vallance - the government's Chief Scientific Advisor - said yesterday that the country is unlikely to be back to any semblance of normality before next Spring.

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He explained that, while we know the vaccine prevents coronavirus from taking hold in the body, we do not yet know whether it can stop people transmitting to non-vaccinated people.

Sir Patrick Vallance spoke out yesterday
Sir Patrick Vallance spoke out yesterday. Picture: PA

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "It's going to take quite a long time to make sure everybody in the at-risk groups and all of the groups that are difficult to reach get vaccinated as appropriate."

He added that it takes at least a month for vaccinated people to achieve full immunity, continuing: "It is important we all stick to the rules in the meantime - the rules are what's keeping the virus down."

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And speaking about face masks, he said: "It may be that next winter even with vaccination we need measures like masks in place - we don't know yet how good all the vaccines are going to be at preventing the transmission of the virus."

The coronavirus vaccine is currently being rolled out in the UK, with Margaret Keenan, 90, being the first patient to receive it yesterday.

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

Margaret, who celebrates her birthday next week, said: "I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year."

Speaking about the historic moment, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I'm feeling quite emotional seeing those pictures, it's been such a tough year for so many people but finally we have our way through it, the light at the end of the tunnel.

"It seems so simple having a jab in your arm but that will protect Margaret and the people around her.

"If we manage to do that for everyone who is vulnerable to this disease we can move on and return to normal.

"I am so grateful to the whole team who made this happen."


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