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Some COVID restrictions could return next winter, chief medical officer warns

Written by on 5 January 2021

Some coronavirus restrictions may have to be brought back to control the virus next winter, the chief medical officer has said.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, Professor Chris Whitty warned that the risks will continue to exist as the weather gets warmer, saying: “We shouldn’t kid ourselves [that] this just disappears with spring.”

He said: “If we did not do all the things all of us must now do, if people don’t take the stay at home seriously, the risk at this point in time, in the middle of winter, with this new variant, is extraordinarily high.”

He said the risk level will gradually decrease over time with measures being “lifted by degrees possibly at different rates in different parts of the country, we’ll have to see”.

“We’ll then get, over time, to a point where people say this level of risk is something society is prepared to tolerate and lift right down to almost no restrictions at all,” he added.

But he went on to warn: “We might have to bring in a few in the next winter for example, that’s possible, because winter will benefit the virus.”