England’s chief medical officer predicts there will be problems with variants, vaccine shortages and epidemics in schools and prisons.
He said there would be “bumps and twists and turns in the road” as people across the UK took part in a minute of silence to remember the victims of Covid-19 after 12 terrible months.
Speaking at a public health conference organized by the Association of Local Governments and the Association of Directors of Public Health, Professor Whitty said today: “It really is a sad day.
“The path from now looks better than last year, but there will be a lot of bumps and twists in the road from now on.
“There will definitely be another surge at some point, whether it’s before winter or next winter, we don’t know.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he believes a third wave of coronavirus could potentially strike this summer.
“The problem right now is that in countries where there is less vaccination and a very strong third wave, this is the perfect breeding ground for other worrisome variants,” he said.
“So at this point Britain has done its job, the concern is that this third wave is happening elsewhere, it will generate new variations.
“Even in Britain there is a likelihood of a third wave in July and August, when we unlock the company. ”
Earlier today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there are currently no plans to put all of Europe on the travel “red list” after the prospect was raised on Monday by the Minister of Health Lord Bethell.
The Red List currently requires UK nationals and people who normally reside in the UK to self-quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
Mr Hancock, who spoke with his Spanish counterpart on Monday on whether travel could safely resume, told LBC: “We have no intention of doing so.
“We have this red list and the orange list, and at the moment it’s working well, so we don’t intend to do it. ”
He told BBC Breakfast that current border measures protect the UK against new variants, some of which have been found to escape some degree of immunity offered by vaccines.
He added: “The question is whether we will be able to release any of these measures during the summer.
“I fully understand the desire of people to get away from it all and have a summer vacation, and we are examining this issue right now in the Global Travel Working Group, which will report back in the middle of next month.
“The first step that will take action will be May 17, but obviously we are taking a cautious approach because we want all the openings we make to be irreversible. ”