England’s Chief Medical Officer has warned that we are walking a “narrow path” between economic catastrophe and a spike in the coronavirus as lockdown is eased.
Professor Whitty warned that “this virus is a long way from gone” as he appeared with the Prime Minister on the eve of pubs reopening across England.
He added: “It is not going to be gone for a long time
“Nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step.
“We have to be absolutely serious about it.”
He urged people to keep following social distancing rules as lockdown restrictions are eased, adding: “If individuals, families and firms do not take them seriously the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply.”
He added: “Either side of the path that we are on there are risks.
“And we are going to have health problems, and economic problems, for sure.
“So, what we are trying to do is walk this narrow path. There is no perfect time, there is no perfect, exact way of doing it.
“What this is is an attempt to balance, as best we can, in a way that makes it possible for society to be as close as possible to normal, whilst living alongside this virus – which we will have to continue to do.
“This virus is a long way from gone. But, it is not going to be gone for a very, very long time.”
His concerns were echoed by Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.
Sir Patrick warned that indoor environments like pubs were the most risky environment for spreading virus and people must be cautious.
He also added that the biggest risk comes in winter, “and we have to be ready for it”.
Sir Patrick also warned that we would see more local outbreaks as restrictions were eased.
Boris Johnson said the Government’s monitoring system was well equipped to deal with any outbreaks.
Boris Johnson said that the Government had developed an approach based on monitoring, engaging, testing, targeted restrictions and as a last resort lockdowns.
And he called on people to “enjoy summer responsibly”.
He added: “Our goal remains to enable as many people as possible to live their lives as close to normally as possible in a way that is as fair and as safe as possible.
“To achieve this we need to move away from blanket national measures to targeted local measures.
“We are already implementing this targeted approach in England.”