‘The UK recorded its worst coronavirus death toll on Friday, with 980 people succumbing to COVID-19 – bringing the total death toll in the country to 8,958.
While government plans are reportedly being drawn up in the UK to gradually start taking the country out of the lockdown in May, social distancing protocols which are in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 may have to stay in place “indefinitely”, reports The Telegraph.
Concerned that the coronavirus might take longer to stamp out, scientists are reportedly advising Whitehall to encourage the country to adapt to long-term lifestyle changes that would effectively reduce human contact until a successful vaccination has been found.
Measures such as encouraging working remotely may need to remain in place indefinitely in the face of the persistent threat of the virus, and to fight future epidemics.
It is understood that as the UK starts relaxing current lockdown procedures, Britons will be requested to restrict interactions like visiting friends and relatives, and voluntarily adhere to such social distancing measures as working from home for many months, or even years, in the hopes this will stop a second wave of the respiratory virus from emerging.
Currently, Whitehall is believed to be considering opening schools first, sometime in early June, hoping to have pupils potentially return to their studies after the summer half term.
The consideration would in this case prioritise groups such as Years 10 and 12, which are facing GCSE and A-level exams.
The outlet cites a senior government source as suggesting that measures would have to be taken to reduce contact between children.
“Even if they come back, you will have to have a social distance, and it’s hard to do in a class of 30. It would mean that you couldn’t have everyone at the same time. You have to focus on the key groups of the year, such as year 10 and year 12,” the source is quoted as saying.
A “staggered” approach is reportedly urged by Teachers Unions, with Department of Education (DfE) officials looking at ways to bring different age groups back over an extended period of weeks.’