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Covid news - live: Sturgeon announces next step of lockdown easing as Whitty warns of 30,000 further deaths

The Independent logo The Independent 09/03/2021 Chiara Giordano,Jon Sharman and Samuel Osborne
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Professor Chris Whitty has warned there could be another surge in coronavirus cases in late summer, potentially resulting in the further loss of tens of thousands of lives.

England's chief medical officer said even under the most optimistic set of assumptions, a further 30,000 lives could be lost to Covid-19.

He told the Science and Technology Committee that despite the success of the UK’s ongoing vaccine rollout, modelling suggested that “at some point we will get a surge in virus”.

This is because not everyone in the UK will have been vaccinated as restrictions are eased, or will not have acquired full protection from the jabs.

Prof Whitty defended the approach of allowing five-week intervals between steps of unlocking in order to assess their impact on the virus, saying leaders in all countries had eased off too quickly in the past.

He advised against any attempts to “concertina” the interval, adding that measures pencilled in for 17 May to allow indoor mixing of up to six people will involve “significant risks”.

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