Pubs fully reopening could be delayed by summer Covid surge, warns SAGE

THE FULL reopening of pubs could be delayed by a summer surge of Covid, SAGE has warned.

The Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown says pubs and restaurants will be allowed serve indoors from May 17 at the earliest.

And Johnson has tonight promised Brits that we're on track to unlock the country fully by June 21.

But data released by the government scientific advisory board today stated that another surge of the killer bug could put this on hold.

Papers released by SAGE predict a late summer surge will grip the nation, casting doubt on whether restrictions can be fully relaxed by June.

And they warn face masks and social distancing rules may have to stay in place until next year.

SAGE says while Covid jabs will stop the vast majority of people being struck down they're "not good enough" to see all rules lifted without risking a surge in cases.

All pandemic limits on social contact were due to be abolished by June 21 as part of the final stage of the four-step route out of the health crisis. 

It was hoped that music festivals, sports events and nightspots would then reopen and that families and friends could also get together in large numbers.

However, scientific advisors today claimed that "baseline measures" – including some social distancing and masks – would need to stay in place until 2022.

And they warned the reopening of indoor hospitality on May 17 could be pushed back if vaccine uptake in the under-50s drops below 85 per cent.

Modelling by Warwick University, Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine (LSHTM) forecasts a summer surge of cases in the wake of the easing of lockdown restrictions.

They warn this could see a spike in infections which could even rival January's levels when hospitals across the country were swamped with new cases.

UK chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said he expected regular hand washing and the recommendation for people to stay home from work if they feel ill to become "baselines" of social distancing in the future.

"On social distancing, I think one has to understand what that might mean longer term," he told the Downing Street press conference this evening.

"And it probably means things like hand hygiene and the fact people will take time off if they get ill and stay at home rather than going into work, testing to know if you've got it or not.

"Those sorts of things are likely to be important baseline measures going forward."

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