Mask-wearing and social distancing 'may be necessary' in winter months

Amember of the public walks through Ipswich with a mask and gloves Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Prime minister Boris Johnson has warned certain measures may be kept after July 19 - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk MP has warned Covid rules on mask-wearing and social distancing may be kept past July 19 as the UK approaches the winter.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to reveal details of what the end of lockdown restrictions will look like in the coming days - but acknowledged some "extra precautions" may be needed.

He said he has increasing confidence that the government will go ahead with the final phase of plans lockdown on later this month to "get back to life as close to it was before Covid".

But Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, a part-time mental health doctor, has said certain measures could be reintroduced as temperatures plummet.

Dr Dan Poulter MP. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

However, Dr Poulter said he does not envisage a return to strict lockdown as vaccines have caused a sharp fall in the number of deaths.

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He said: "My view, having worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic, the way out is through vaccinations.

"However, the virus will still be with us. As we are going into the colder winter months, viruses will be transmitted to a greater extent.

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"Given coronavirus is more dangerous than other viruses, it may well be the case there may have to be rules on mask-wearing and social distancing.

"The prime minister's right to suggest we will be able to relax on July 19, but we've got to be aware we are still going to be living with the virus.

"What I can't see is a return to lockdowns of the past, but some precautions may be necessary."

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, said people will "learn to live with the virus" after the 'Freedom Day' of July 19.

Giles Watling

Clacton MP Giles Watling - Credit: House of Commons

He said: "As ever, we are led by the science. But I've been pushing for the end of restrictions for ages. 

"We are going to have to learn to live with the virus. The human condition is that we live with diseases.

"On the whole, people have been amazing and have stuck to the rules. But people are now getting towards the edge of their patience.

"I'm leaning towards more relaxation of the rules, not less."

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