Masks and social distancing ‘could last years’, top scientist says

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Social distancing measures and face masks could be used “for years”, according to a leading epidemiologist.

Public Health England’s head of immunisation, Mary Ramsay, said on Sunday “people have got used to those lower-level restrictions now, and people can live with them, and the economy can still go on with those less severe restrictions in place”.

Warning the government must “look very carefully before any restrictions are lifted”, Dr Ramsay also said a return of big spectator events required careful monitoring and clear instructions about staying safe.

“So, I think certainly for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere, that is when we may be able to go very gradually back to a more normal situation,” she told the BBC.

Half of all UK adults have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, with Friday setting a record for the most jabs given in a single day. A combined 711,156 first and second doses were given to members of the public.

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