Government's winter Covid plan could mean mandatory masks and social distancing for next 5 years

2 July 2021, 08:22

Health chiefs' Covid plan could mean masks and social distancing for years to come
Health chiefs' Covid plan could mean masks and social distancing for years to come. Picture: PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Health chiefs are suggesting social distancing measures could be in place for years to come.

Government officials are said to have put forward plans for coronavirus restrictions to be in place for the next five years.

According to The Mirror, health chiefs have drawn up blueprints to protect the UK against future waves of the virus.

The appropriate restrictions will reportedly be used over the winter months, depending on infection rates and pressure on the NHS.

Covid restrictions could be brought back this winter
Covid restrictions could be brought back this winter. Picture: PA Images

These could include mandatory face masks in public places, working from home and the two metre distancing rules currently in place.

The restrictions could also temporarily put limits on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings.

Officials are hoping the plan will put a stop to any more country-wide lockdowns in the future.

This comes after Boris Johnson announced he is hoping to end all social distancing rules on July 19, but added ‘extra precautions’ might be needed.

During a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, the Prime Minister told reporters he would give the country more information over the coming days.

He said: "I know how impatient people are to get back to total normality, as indeed am I.

"I will be setting in the course of the next few days what step four will look like exactly.

"But I think I've said it before, we'll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible.

Social distancing rules are thought to be lifted completely on July 19
Social distancing rules are thought to be lifted completely on July 19. Picture: PA Images

“Try to get back to life as close to it was before Covid.

"But there may be some things we have to do, extra precautions that we have to take, but I'll be setting them out."

A final decision on the fourth phase of lockdown lifting is reportedly yet to be agreed by ministers.

But England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, recently told Cabinet ministers that the country should prepare for a 'tough winter ahead'.