Protective measures such as the wearing of face masks could remain in place for a “couple of years”, according to Dr Margarita del Val, the head of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Much like the rest of the UK , Spain is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections, with Spanish health officials reporting 10,981 new cases and 196 further deaths in the past 24 hours. Face coverings are already mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces across Spain – which has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Europe.
Speaking broadly about the restrictions imposed around the world, Dr del Val said: “We have to get used to wearing a mask and taking a couple of measures for a couple of years, and integrate them into our daily lives, forget about them, they will turn into something that is useful to you.
“We will get over this in some years, but we don’t have to expect this is going to be a hundred-metre run.
“It’s going to be a marathon.”
It comes as the UK reported a further 17,540 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the second-highest daily figure, putting large parts of the Britain on the brink on another lockdown.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned the NHS in the north of England is close to reaching full capacity.
He said: “In the north of England now, we are not that far away from the health service being stretched.
“Because even if we turn the epidemic around now, infections that occur today won’t go to hospital for another week or two.”
8.10am update: UK economy grows by just 2.1 percent – lower than economic forecasts
The UK’s economic recovery has slowed considerably and is far below what experts had predicted, new figures show.
Gross National Product (GDP) was up by 2.1 percent during August, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It was the fourth consecutive month of growth, but is less than half of what experts had expected.
Analysts expected that GDP would increase by 4.6 percent, in July GDP was up by 6.4 percent and in June it rose by 9.1 percent.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had invested millions through the Eat Out To Help Out scheme – offering half price meals – in order to stimulate growth.
Figures show accommodation and food service sectors contributed 1.25 percentage points of August’s growth in GDP.
8.00am update: Sunak to make new announcement TODAY
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the next stage of the Job Support Scheme later today.
A Treasury spokeswoman said: “The Chancellor will be setting out the next stage of the Job Support Scheme later today that will protect jobs and provide a safety net for those businesses that may have to close in the coming weeks and months.”