Britons warned COVID rule of six to go on for ‘several months’ as No10 chief urges caution

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The warning comes from Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, who told Channel 4 News people must continue to be cautious or coronavirus regulations “may go on for several months”. Asked whether she believed the restrictions will still be in place by Christmas, she said: “It depends on how well we all behave. If we’re all very observant of those rules, then hopefully we will manage to keep the rate of the disease in the country quite low and flat.

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“But there is an ongoing risk.

“And I think we need to be mindful this may go on for several months.

“We need to keep a very cautious behaviour as we go through the winter period.”

It comes as the World Health Organisation’s Special Envoy has warned the UK Government that strict rules on social distancing to combat the coronavirus cannot last forever.

Dr David Nabarro told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the people need to voluntarily take the virus seriously rather than being instructed to by the Government. He added that the COVID-19 coronavirus will be in circulation for the foreseeable future.

Dr Nabarro said: “As I have told you before on this programme, people will work out how to live with the virus and they will make the changes to their lives.

“Having a Government set rules and decide what you can and cannot do can’t last forever.

“People will get fed up and it is having people saying they will take the virus seriously voluntarily that seems to be important.”

Dr Nabarro added: “The virus is not going away, we are going to have to live with it for the foreseeable future so we have to find ways to get on with our lives while holding the virus back.

“It is like being on a constant state of defence.”

Health Minister Matt Hancock said the new restrictions will not be kept in place “for any longer than we have to”.

Discussing the new “rule of six”, he told MPs: “As the chief medical officer said yesterday, we must learn from the recent experience of countries like Belgium who successfully put in place these measures to combat a similar rise in infections.”

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Mr Hancock added: “These are not measures that we take lightly. I understand that for many they’ll mean changing long-awaited plans or missing out on precious moments with loved ones, but this sacrifice is vital to control the virus for the long term and save lives.

“And I vow that we will not keep these rules in place for any longer than we have to.”

Matt Hancock also pleaded with university students to “follow the rules”.

He told MPs: “Our goal as much as possible is to protect keeping schools and businesses open whilst controlling the virus.

“The data show that whilst the cases amongst 17-30-year-olds are rising, the number of cases amongst the under-16s remain very low, and we all know how important it is to keep schools open.”

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