A World Health Organization (WHO) leader has urged Britons to continue social distancing and wearing face masks even when coronavirus lockdowns are lifted.
Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, said dramatic upsurges in infections remain possible “anywhere”.
While agreeing the UK, with its low infection and high vaccination rates, needs to get back to normal, he said compromises – including face masks – must be a part of this.
It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to confirm the third stage for easing England's lockdown from 17 May.
Referring to India’s enormous spike in cases over the past few weeks, Dr Nabarro told Sky News on Monday: “That acute upsurge in numbers of cases could happen anywhere and that’s what I think we’re all beginning to realise.
“On the one hand we’ve got a dangerous virus, on the other hand we must get on with life because it just can’t go on with the restrictions that people have had up till now.”
He said the “middle path” in “living with this virus’s constant threat is key”.
Dr Nabarro said he would advise everybody: “You must restart life and everybody wants you to do that. But please be really careful, maintain that physical distance of between one metre and two metres – especially indoors – and don’t forget to wear your face masks because that really can give extra protection.
Watch: Daily politics briefing: 10 May
“It’s these simple things, but all done together, that will really make the difference as to whether or not future spikes are huge or future spikes are small and easily contained.”
When Johnson announced England’s road map out of lockdown in February, reviews over the need for social distancing and face masks were also commissioned by the government.
However, the outcomes of these reviews are still to be announced.
At a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, the prime minister is set to confirm the third stage of easing England’s restrictions will go ahead as planned in a week's time.
This will include two households or groups of up to six people being allowed to mix indoors, and pubs and restaurants opening for indoor service.
In the fourth and final stage of the road map, the government is aiming to drop all restrictions on social contact on 21 June.
Watch: How England is leaving lockdown