A THIRD wave of Covid-19 is on its way and the pandemic is set to continue, Dr Hilary Jones has warned.
Lockdown restrictions have once again eased up in England with pubs, gyms and non-essential shops reopening this week.
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Keeping infection rates down is key to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown and the next set of restrictions is due to be lifted on May 17.
This morning, Dr Hilary warned that restrictions might need to stay in place for longer if the public fails to adhere to the rules still in place.
This includes complying with social distancing measures and wearing a mask or face covering on public transport, in shops and other areas that are enclosed and where social distancing is not possible.
So far in the UK over 32.2 million Brits have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine with over 7.8 million have had a second.
Dr Hilary urged people to not rely on vaccines and to not become complacent.
"There will be the risk of another wave if we rely too much on vaccination because we have only vaccinated half of the population or thereabouts.
"We are on track to keeping things under control, but it depends on the behaviour of the population.
"If we look at what has happened in Israel where they’re way ahead of everybody with the vaccinations, they have seemed to keep the number under control."
Children returned to school on March 8 and Dr Hilary said that there hasn't been a spike in cases since they re-entered the class room.
He did however add that the pandemic is not something that each country can battle individually.
Dr Hilary said: "The pandemic is global, it's going to last a long time, we're gonna be living with it.
"Vaccination is not the sole answer. A lot of scientific experts are saying that while vaccinations have been fantastic, lockdown has been equally fantastic in bringing down rates.
"Some parts of the country are still quite high and rising so there is no place for complacency, we've got to do this through vaccines and social distancing."
It was announced this week that further surge testing had been deployed in London after a "significant cluster" of the South African variant had been discovered.
Surge testing works by testing residents in an area which helps detect cases that may have been missed before.
Dr Hilary said that surge testing, as well as keeping up with social distancing and vaccinations will help keep infection rates low.
He added: "If we do testing and tracing, vaccinations, if people are behaving responsibly, we will keep this under control."
Data published daily by Public health England suggests that in the seven days up to April 9, 40 areas in England saw a rise in cases with 84 per cent witnessing a decrease.
Dr Hilary said that cases could be rising in some areas due to a variety of reasons.
"It could well be the new variants, it could be people have thought that it's all over.
"It certainly isn’t, this is going to run and we're going to have to live with the virus for some time.
"If people want to get back to travelling internationally, or if people want to go back to work full time then they are gonna have to be really careful still."
He said that we need to keep the infection rate down as around 50 people per 100,000 have the infection at present and could be spreading it to others.
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