Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned coronavirus is going to be around “forever” even if a vaccine is found. Sir Mark said: “We know that less than one in five people in the country have been infected so 80 percent of the population are still susceptible to this virus.
“This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he added: “So, a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals.”
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has admitted it is unlikely there will be an “effective and safe” treatment for coronavirus before the winter of 2021.
Professor Whitty was speaking after the UK’s chief and deputy chief medical officers gave the go-ahead for schools to re-open in September.
He said while the risk to children of COVID-19 from returning to school was “not zero” the evidence that not going to school damages children in the long run was “overwhelming”.
In the past 24 hours, a further 1,288 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus and 18 others have died.
READ MORE: Three towns face tighter lockdown as coronavirus infections soar
The total number of fatalities in the UK since the start of the pandemic now stands at 41,423.
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8.10am update: Professor Whitty says risk to children ‘incredibly small’
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has said the risk of children catching coronavirus is “not zero” but are “incredibly small” ahead of the re-opening of schools next month.
Professor Whitty said: “So the reason that is important to lay out is the chances of children catching Covid and then getting long-term serious problems as a result of it, solely due to going to school are incredibly small.
“They’re not zero, but they’re incredibly small.
“The chances of many children being damaged by not going to school are incredibly clear and therefore the balance of risk is very strongly in favour of children going to school because many more are likely to be harmed by not going than harmed by going, even during this pandemic.”