Coronavirus restrictions could be reintroduced next winter – even if the risk decreases.
Professor Chris Whitty said some of the measures may need to be reintroduced to control the virus.
England’s chief medical officer told the Downing Street press conference: “If we haven’t done all the things we all need to do now, if people don’t take being home seriously, the risk at this point is mid-winter with this new variant is extremely high. “
He said the risk will gradually decrease over time as the measures “are phased out, possibly at different rates in different parts of the country, we have to see”.
“We will then get to a point in time where people will say that risk is something that society is willing to tolerate and put to almost no restrictions,” he added.
“We may have to bring some in next winter, that’s possible because the winter benefits the virus.”
The vaccination schedule was described by Professor Whitty as “realistic but not easy”.
He said: “The NHS is going to have to use multiple channels to get this out, but they are very determined to do it, but that doesn’t make it easy.
“And of course, in the case of the Pfizer vaccine, I believe it is widespread, more difficult to manage because of the complicated cold chain model.
“We also wanted to be very careful with both vaccines for the first two or three days, that we walked a bit slowly, just in case there were unexpected problems initially.”