Face masks and indoor restrictions ‘likely’ next winter, Sir Patrick Vallance warns

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Face masks and indoor restrictions are 'likely' to be needed in certain places next winter, Brits have been warned.

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said next winter will be a lot better because the vaccinations will have been rolled out across a very large proportion of society.

But he said we can't assume there won't be any measures needed next winter to curb coronavirus.

Speaking to Sky News this morning he said: "It's more likely to be that we wear masks in certain places, that we are continuing with hand washing, making sure that we are sensible about the way in which we interact with people in indoor environments.

"That's the sort of thing we might anticipate. This virus has taken us by surprise time and time again, we just don't know.

"I'd be very surprised if we go in year on year with needing to do things more than that, but this coming winter I think we need to wait and see how far we get on with the current reduction in numbers that needs to occur."

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People walk along Hove promenade during the Covid-19 Lockdown 3.0
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

Patrick Vallance on Sky News
(Image: Sky)

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Speaking about the current measures, Sir Patrick said face masks were important for preventing spread from those who were infected and were important in crowds and for indoor mixing.

He added: "Vaccines – which are going to be so important in the long run – vaccines are not going to get the numbers under control now.

"The things that are going to get the numbers under control now are hand hygiene, keeping distance, not socialising, staying at home, wearing masks in situations where you have to be out.

People buying produce from Leicester Market during England's third national lockdown
(Image: PA)

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"These are the things that are going to keep the numbers down now and the things we absolutely need to focus on because numbers are very high still."

Downing Street said advice on masks was always kept "under review".

Mask wearing could be needed next winter in certain places as well
(Image: EMPICS Entertainment)

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The PM's spokesman said: "We've been clear that we want people to wear face masks when in indoor settings, such as supermarkets and on public transport.

"It remains the case that we will continue to keep all of our decisions and guidance under review.

"But we would ask the public to abide by all the guidance, specifically that asking them to wear face masks in indoor settings."