UK coronavirus live: Chris Whitty says social distancing should continue 'for a long period'

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4.00pm BST

Scientists advising the Government wrote last month they do not believe it is possible to return to a “pre-Covid normality” without contact tracing and other measures that would “be difficult to achieve”.

The 22 June opinion by modellers feeding into the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) was contained in the latest tranche of documents released on Friday.

SPI-M-O (scientific pandemic influenza group on modelling, operational) do not believe it is possible to return to a ‘pre-Covid’ normality, without levels of contact tracing and Covid security effectiveness that would be difficult to achieve, without some sort of additional increase in immunity, either through vaccination or infection,

As a result, thought should be given to the triggers for when measures should be reintroduced, what metrics should inform this, and what further data and information may need to be collected.

3.52pm BST

Whitty also called for social distancing measures to remain in place for some time. He said:

There are issues around distancing, which have been buried but the reality is distancing remains an important part of this mix and how it’s interpreted in different environments has evolved, but it has not gone away. [They] need to continue for a long period of time.

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