Normality by X-mas dependent on how ‘alert people are: Shapps

Normality by X-mas dependent on how ‘alert people are: Shapps

He defended the prime minister's upbeat message on Friday, saying it was important to give businesses and their staff "a sense of a target, and a sense of hope".

The Prime Minister signalled another significant easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England on Friday, relaxing work-from-home guidance and paving the way for theatres and sports stadiums to reopen.

And Prof John Edmunds, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Team for Emergencies (Sage), explained to the BBC's Today programme that a return to pre-lockdown normality was "a long way off".

However, hours later Patrick Vallance, the British chief scientific adviser, struck a more pessimistic tone, warning that Britain could need another lockdown this winter when the challenge would be "very much greater".

Nevertheless, he said he wanted to get back to "something closer to normal" but that this depended on the public "staying alert and acting responsibly".

"It's possible that the virus will be more virulent in the winter months, and it's certain that the NHS will face the usual annual winter pressures", Johnson said.

"We will never be able to do that till we are immune to the virus, which means until eventually we have a vaccine that is verified safe and efficient".

1, companies would be able to choose whether they would like their employees to work from home or return to the office. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I absolutely really don't want to use it.

Mr Johnson also immediately scrapped the advice to avoid public transport. Shops, pubs, restaurants and hair salons have already reopened in England, and Johnson said they can be joined as of August 1 by beauticians, casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks.

From October, audiences will be able to return to stadia for sports and performances, and conferences and other events can recommence, but "these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots".

The World Snooker Championship, the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival and two county cricket friendly matches will be among pilot events, starting later this month.

He also said the government had given local authorities new powers to close specific premises, shut outdoor spaces and cancel events to control outbreaks. He also hoped business conferences would resume.

As far back as May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced he would be remaining in the United Kingdom, amid fears that foreign holidays would be off the cards completely this year.

Vallance warned: "Everyone that I've spoken to thinks it's highly likely that this disease will continue to circulate and will come back in waves".

"But it has to be right that we take local action in response to local outbreaks".

"Certainly we did see some indication, with manufacturing up 8% and construction up 8%, of a return but clearly there is much to do in places like hospitality and in accommodation".

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