Warning over danger of returning to shops today

People have been warned to abide by the rules amid fears that Covid could resurgence as stores that are not strictly needed reopen today.

Dr. Mike Tildesley, reader for Infectious Disease Modeling at the University of Warwick and a member of the government’s Pandemic Influenza Scientific Group on Modeling (SPI-M), said any form of reopening could “result in higher risk.”

When asked how reopening might affect infection rates, he told Times Radio, “It’s hard to say, but I think we need to remember that with any form of reopening there will be more mixing, and we can expect that this could lead to a higher risk.

“We could expect there could be a resurgence, so it’s really very important that people follow the rules of the game while relaxing.

“It’s great news that people can get out and go to non-essential stores and go to pubs and restaurants and so on, but like I said, follow the guidelines that are still in place.”

He added, “We should never say that there can be no transmission if we follow these rules. We try to keep the risk of transmission as low as possible.”

“If you take these precautions, there is never zero risk – there is always a chance that you will infect yourself with these precautions – but you minimize your own risk of infection and you may also pass the virus on.”

Sacha Berendji, operations and real estate manager at Marks & Spencer, said the stores are “safe” and he is “very confident” that customers will be able to return comfortably.

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Speaking of the Today program, he said, “The pandemic is definitely not over and we need to make sure we get out of it in a safe and responsible way.

“I’m very confident that … people can come in and enjoy a great and hopefully inspiring shopping experience with us.

“It won’t be the same, but I don’t think anyone would expect it.”

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