Social distancing and face masks 'could remain until Autumn'

12 February 2021, 09:57

Some coronavirus restrictions could be in place for a number of months
Some coronavirus restrictions could be in place for a number of months. Picture: PA
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Boris Johnson is expected to deliver a 'roadmap' out of lockdown on February 22.

Current rules on social distancing and face masks could remain in force until the Autumn, it has been reported.

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Boris Johnson is due to deliver his plan for getting the country out of lockdown on February 22 - and, according to The Times, the plan will rest on such measures remaining in place for some time.

A Whitehall insider told the publication: "The thinking is that social distancing will need to be in place for a long time to come.

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

"It has repercussions for the scale of any reopening. Restaurants, pubs and offices will all need to be Covid-secure."

The source added: "The more restrictions we have in place like social distancing rules the more we can do in terms of easing."

Read more: Government 'doing everything they can' to make summer holidays happen, says Matt Hancock

SAGE expert Prof Neil Ferguson previously said that easing rules would be a 'gradual process' until the Autumn.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, he was asked whether restrictions will be in place for months to come, and responded: "Yes, and we can't predict all of these things in advance.

"We couldn't have predicted this new variant coming up, but the new variant without doubt will make the relaxation of restrictions more difficult because it is substantially more transmissible.

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