As England has started reopening bars, pubs and restaurants after more than three months of being closed, an expert has given a stark warning of the dangers that lie ahead.
Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned that coronavirus is “a long way from gone,” and strongly urged the public to follow social distancing.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief government scientific adviser further warned over the dangers of “superspreading” the virus in pubs and other venues.
Professor Whitty said, “None of us believe, and I’m sure nobody watching this believes, this is a risk-free next step.
“It is absolutely not, that is why we have to be really serious about it.
“There’s no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together, that’s a great thing to do socially but it’s also a great thing from the virus’s point of view.
“And therefore, we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try and maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs.”
The coronavirus R rate that measures the transmission level has risen above 1 in parts of London, which could see localised lockdowns.
Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson warned this week that more localised lockdowns are “inevitable.”
Professor Ferguson told BBC Radio 4s Today programme, “It is inevitable we will have further local outbreaks.
“We are relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up and that is a very variable process.”