Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021
News Every Day |

UK could face third wave if lockdown is lifted too quickly, scientist warns

A woman passes a government coronavirus advert in a bus shelter in central London, during England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Picture date: Thursday January 28, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: xxxxxx/PA Wire
Experts have urged caution over lifting restriction too soon (Picture: PA)

Britain could face a coronavirus wave as big as the current one if lockdown restrictions are lifted too quickly, a scientist advising the Government has warned.

Professor Steven Riley, a member of the SPI-M modelling group, said that while the UK’s vaccine rollout has been ‘incredibly successful’, it did not mean controls could simply be dropped.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘No vaccine is perfect. We are certainly going to be in the situation where we can allow more infection in the community but there is a limit.

‘I think scientists are genuinely worried. We don’t want to show that it is an excellent but not perfect vaccine by having another large wave in the UK.

‘Nearly 20% of the UK population is 65 years old or older. If you do some simple back of the envelope (calculations) for a vaccine that is very good but not perfect, there is the potential for another really substantial wave. That is not where we want to go in the short term.

‘If for some reason we were to choose to just pretend it (coronavirus) wasn’t here any more, then there is the potential to go back to a wave that is a similar size to the one that we are in now.’

His warning came amid continuing pressure from some Conservative MPs for the Government to begin easing controls as more people become inoculated.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: A man wearing a mask is seen walking past a closed jewelers on January 28, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson says that on February 22, he will set out his roadmap to lift lockdown (Picture: Getty Images)

Ministers are confident they will meet the target of offering a first dose of the vaccine to all those in the Government’s top four priority groups – including all over-70s in the UK – by the deadline of Monday.

But the success of the programme has led to renewed demands for a relaxation of the restrictions to allow the economy to open up again.

Former cabinet minister David Davis said they should begin with schools – which are due to reopen in England on March 8 – as part of a ‘stepwise’ winding down of controls.

He told the Today programme: ‘I think we have got to do a stepwise change. I think we are going to have to relax the schools, that is the first thing to do. It is probably the lowest risk.’

He said that a combination of the vaccines and new treatments meant Covid-19 should become a ‘manageable’ disease like flu with a ‘normal’ level of deaths each year.

He added: ‘If it is the same level as flu, we don’t think for a second of locking down the country over flu.

‘There will come a point where there will be a death rate from Covid but it is at a normal level and then we have to cope with that. Obviously we still try to prevent it but we accept it.’

This was echoed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said coronavirus could become ‘another illness that we have to live with’ by the end of the year.

Despite the promising figures, NHS Confederation chairman Lord Adebowale expressed concern that March 8 was still too soon for schools to return.

The Royal Free London hospital is turning the corner after coming under strain due to the Covid pandemic (Picture Royal Free London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) exclusive Royal Free London chief says 'light at end of tunnel' as Covid numbers fall

He said the NHS workforce was ‘on its knees’ and that ministers needed to be ‘very cautious”‘ about any easing of lockdown restrictions.

‘We have to be really careful, really systematic about easing any lockdown. What we cannot afford is another peak,’ he told the Today programme.

‘I understand the pressure to open schools. We need to do so very safely. I think mid or late March is when we should be reassessing.

‘We have had a number of false dawns when we have set dates, taken the action then find ourselves having to row back very quickly.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Read also

Nalbandian On Big 3: Don't Wait For Retirement, Beat Them Now!

Sensational claims Chelsea tried to get Maurizio Sarri BACK to replace axed Lampard last month before Tuchel appointment

Kevin Holland praises Khamzat Chimaev for being 'very smart' about fights – well, not really

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Things You Get Wrong About Clark Kent