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England will "of course look at" bringing back Covid restrictions if cases rise to an "unacceptable" level, a top Tory has declared.
Minister Lucy Frazer dealt another blow to Boris Johnson's claim that this Monday's so-called 'Freedom Day' will be "irreversible".
Mr Johnson has dropped his "irreversible" claim and switched to arguing that if England doesn't drop restrictions now, in summer, the chance may not come again this year.
And last night his Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said: "I don't think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again, surprisingly fast."
Prof Whitty added that more people could be fighting the disease in hospital "in five, six, seven, eight weeks' time", and went on: "They could actually be really quite serious… at that point if it looks as if things are not topping out, we do have to look again and see where we think things are going. "
Chris Whitty warns England could be plunged back into lockdown curbs in just 5 weeks
Freedom Day leaves disabled people scared and isolated as 'just 2%' feel safe
Questioned on Prof Whitty's comments this morning, Solicitor General Lucy Frazer admitted it was a possibility that restrictions will return this winter.
She told Sky News: “I think the Health Secretary’s been very clear, as has the Prime Minister, that we will see infections rise.
“But the reason why the restrictions have been taken away is because of the vaccination programme, which will protect people when those infection rates do rise.
“And of course if we get into a situation where it’s unacceptable and we do need to put back further restrictions, then that of course is something the government will look at.
“But we’re going into the summer, a large number of people have been vaccinated, we’ve had a really tough time, we’re still asking people to take responsibility, and we do need to ask ourselves – if we don’t open up now, when will we be able to open up.”
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty during the media briefing in Downing Street on Monday
A survey has found just 2% of disabled people feel safe ahead of Monday's unlocking, when mandatory mask-wearing will be ditched in law.
Mayors across England are keeping masks in the parts of the transport network they control, including Metrolink trams in Manchester and the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Masks will also remain mandatory on public transport in Scotland and Wales.
But the rule of six limit on indoor gatherings in England will be axed, and large events will be able to return with no social distancing.
Some 48,553 positive cases were recorded in the UK yesterday as infected people climbed 33% in a week.
There were 63 deaths, a lower figure than when cases were this high last time, but a rise of 48% in a week.
Almost 4,000 people have been hospitalised with Covid in the last seven days, a rise of 47% in a week.
Prof Whitty said: "We've still got over 2,000 people in hospital, and that number is increasing.
"If we double from 2,000 to 4,000, from 4,000 to 8,000 and so on, it doesn't take many doubling times till you're into very very large numbers indeed."