Brits could be allowed to mix with other households by May, scientist claims

Brits could be able to meet up with other household bubbles from May, a Government scientific adviser has said.

Professor Neil Ferguson – known as Professor Lockdown and who is on the Government advisory body Nervtag – believes lockdown measures may even begin to be eased every three weeks from March 8.

He says that areas of the country with very low coronavirus infection rates could be candidates for being put in Tier 1 level restrictions.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously hinted that England will unlock as one without the regional tiers system and said the virus was "behaving in a similar way" across the country.

Professor Ferguson believes the rest of the country's infection rates would leave them in a Tier 2, meaning Brits could meet in groups of six or less outdoors.

In Tier 2 you must not socialise with anybody outside your household or bubble in an indoor setting, and outside gatherings must be distanced and adhering to the rule of six.

In an interview on a Politico podcast, Professor Ferguson said: "By May time, it's realistic to be in something akin to Tier 2.

"Maybe with areas of very low incidence by that time, we could move to Tier 1 type measures, completely relaxing and having something akin to where we were in August."

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But Professor Ferguson also warned it could be next year before all restrictions are finally lifted.

"We're in a better place than I might have anticipated a month ago," he said.

"Lockdown has driven down cases quite fast – in a month's time, we might have some bandwidth to reopen schools, or at least primary schools."

Professor Ferguson added that restrictions could gradually be eased every three weeks once schools reopen, which could happen as soon as March 8.

He said: "I'm much more comfortable with a strategy that implements one change, then watches what happens for three weeks, so we can see the effect of that change.

"Hopefully by May, we'll be in a place much more like October, rather than having ever intensified social distancing."

It comes following the news that Britain should be "more or less free" of coronavirus by Christmas.

Sage member and epidemiologist, Professor John Edmunds, has warned that the virus is not going anywhere any time soon – even with the vaccine rollout.

According to Prof Edmunds, we are likely to not see the back of Covid-19 until the end of 2021 due to new variants mutating.

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