‘Normal life will stay on hold until a virus vaccine becomes available in about 18 months, officials said last night.
Advice to work from home and stay in for seven days if you have symptoms will probably still be in place next year.
Ministers want to lift the most restrictive parts of the lockdown, including school and shop closures, within weeks.
But senior Government sources say the only true ‘exit strategy’ is a vaccine or a cure. Until then, the UK will have to adjust to a ‘new normal’.
An official last night told The Telegraph that social distancing measures that have been placed upon Britons could be ‘indefinite’.
Official plans to encourage social distancing on a long term, voluntary basis, have also been discussed, as the government continues to hold talks on how long Britons can cope with the current measures. Some measures, such as remote working, could be left in place for longer.
Dominic Raab, standing in for the Prime Minister while he is sick, has said it is ‘too early’ to lift the full lockdown, which will be formally extended next Thursday for several weeks.
Scientists expect the restrictions to be phased out gradually. They say some will stay in place until there is a vaccine – which they expect to take 18 months – to prevent infection levels soaring again.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night admitted the economic impact of the lockdown will cause deaths.’
Read more: UK will have to live with some restrictions until coronavirus vaccine is developed, say officials, as new survey reveals that nine out of 10 Britons are observing ‘stay home’ advice after 980 daily death toll