Lockdown should continue for another 12 weeks, says health expert
Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of public health at Edinburgh University, told Times Radio that, although lockdowns are "crude" and "catastrophic" for the economy and mental health, one is needed given the prevalence of Covid-19 across the UK currently.
But, Prof Sridhar said, a post-lockdown strategy must be put in place to suppress the virus going into the summer.
She said: "With the numbers we're at, there's no other choice.
"For me, it's a three-phase strategy - first is right now, it's crude, it's catastrophic for the economy and for people's mental health, but a lockdown.
"Get those numbers down, protect the NHS for the next 12 weeks."
She added: "When we get into March and hopefully numbers are low again and we get into seasonal change, get your testing and tracing and your border measures in place to really suppress.
"And then in the summer, instead of taking your foot off the gas and saying 'let's open up everything', actually think 'how do we prevent this winter from happening again?’
"How do we actually protect that low prevalence, get emergency teams in place in case there are flare ups... go in, have a quick, sharp one-week lockdown and get your testing and tracing to clear the virus."
Elsewhere, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said people could be vaccinated against coronavirus every year in a similar way to the annual flu jab programme, the
Mr Hancock said that a dual vaccination against the two conditions in future is “highly likely”.