Scientists are urging the Prime Minister to pause the easing of lockdown for another two months and have cautioned against reopening schools on 8 March.
Easter plans could be ruined as a government source warned it is “too early” to think about holidays, as infection levels must come down first.
Professor Steven Riley, a member of the SPI-M modelling group has warned that the UK could see a third wave if the lockdown were to be lifted too early.
Professor Riley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “No vaccine is perfect. We are certainly going to be in the situation where we can allow more infection in the community but there is a limit.
“I think scientists are genuinely worried. We don’t want to show that it is an excellent but not perfect vaccine by having another large wave in the UK.
“Nearly 20% of the UK population is 65-years-old or older. If you do some simple back of the envelope (calculations) for a vaccine that is very good but not perfect, there is the potential for another really substantial wave.
“That is not where we want to go in the short term
“If for some reason we were to choose to just pretend it wasn’t here any more, then there is the potential to go back to a wave that is a similar size to the one that we are in now.”
On Saturday the NHS Confederation Lord Adebowale is urging Ministers to revise the data over fears of there being another spike in infections.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “We have to be really careful, really systematic about easing any lockdown. What we cannot afford is another peak.
“I understand the pressure to open schools. We need to do so very safely. I think mid or late-March is when we should be re-assessing.
“We have had a number of false dawns when we have set dates, taken the action, then find ourselves having to row back very quickly.”
On the current trajectory the rate of reduction in cases, scientists believe it will be around May that the infections will be low enough to only then start easing the lockdown.
Government scientists are saying “the lower the better” and ideally want infections to be as low as they were last June and July when the first lockdown was lifted.
According to Whitehall sources, government Ministers are waiting for data which shows the effects of the vaccines effort on transmission, before they decide if holidays can be allowed.
A Whitehall source on Friday evening, “This has to be done quite carefully because we want this to be the final lockdown. The last thing we want is to go into further restrictions.”
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative MP for the Cotswolds warned, “It is just as dangerous for the nation to be too cautious in unlocking.
“A sufficient proportion of the population will have been vaccinated by April.
“There is no reason why the vast bulk of the economy shops, pubs, restaurant shouldn’t be allowed to begin to open then.”
Sir Geoffrey added that holidays in the UK should be allowed before Easter, or “immediately after.”
It has also been reported that the government are accelerating the reopening of the hospitality sector with takeaway pints to be reinstated in April.
A government insider told the Sun newspaper that reopening hospitality is being accelerated to help boost the sector.
It was previously expected that the hospitality sector was to reopen in May, with the rule of six and social distancing will continue throughout the summer.
A Downing Street source said, “We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner than later.”
It is expected that the reopening of restaurants and limited indoor mixing in pubs will happen in May.
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