UK government chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has admitted the world will be living with coronavirus – probably forever.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street news briefing, he said: “I don’t think this virus is going anywhere.”
And the prime minister agreed.
“We will have to live with coronavirus in one way or another for a long time to come, ” Boris Johnson said.
But in spite of the gloomy prediction, Sir Patrick also had an upbeat message, adding: “It’s going to stay around. It’s going to be around, I think probably forever – but it will be controlled and there is remarkable progress in many areas.
“The vaccines are being rolled out at an unprecedented pace, we have more vaccines than we could ever have dreamt of a year ago – including ones we can alter as needs be – and we have new medicines coming along, including specific anti-virals.”
Mr Johnson added that because we may be living with the virus for some time, it was “an open question as to when and in what way we can start to relax any of the measures”.
He went on: “Obviously, we want to do everything we can to open up but only safely, only cautiously.
“I also think that the British public and British business would much rather we opened safely and cautiously when it was right to do so, rather than opening up again and then being forced to close back down simply because the virus takes off again.”