COVID-19: Restrictions could be in place until all adults are vaccinated, expert warns

Coronavirus restrictions could last until at least all adults have had a coronavirus vaccine, a senior Public Health England official has warned.

Dr Susan Hopkins told Sky News some measures may have to stay in place beyond that, until more was known about COVID-19 transmission “before we can release everything and get back to life as it was”.

Speaking on a special programme, COVID Crisis: Learning The Lessons, she said it was “difficult to say” if rules this coming summer could be tighter than they were during the same period in 2020.

“One of the things we’ve learnt is that when people go on holiday, perhaps they drop their guard a bit, perhaps they mingle a bit closer and they mingle in groups,” Dr Hopkins said.

“That may be one of the areas in which spread of infection can occur.

“So I think we are going to have to have some measures in place until the whole population is vaccinated, at least all of the adult population.

“And even then I think we’ll need to know more about transmission before we can release everything and get back to life as it was.”

Asked if more lives could have been saved in the second wave if lockdown had been imposed quicker, Dr Hopkins said: “The fullness of time will tell us how many lives could have been saved.”

Meanwhile vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi pressed for everyone offered a coronavirus vaccine to get one, telling Sky News: “This is a race against death.”

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