BRITS should be able ditch facemasks over the summer months as vaccines continue to reduce infection rates, government scientists have said.

The next step in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown is set for May 17 – with further restrictions easing on hospitality and mixing indoors.

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Relative normality is set to resume by June 21, with all legal limits on social contact will be removed with events such as weddings and gigs able to resume once more.

Speaking today, goverment scientists said that vaccines are working so well, and there is such good vaccine uptake among members of the public, that things will return to much more like normal life over the summer months, with cases dropping very low, particularly in May.

They did however add that masks and possibly other measures may be needed next autumn and winter if cases surge, they said.

Earlier this week Mr Johnson said that it was likely that there would be a third wave of Covid in the Autumn months.

The PM has previously hailed the vaccine rollout, but also said that the third national lockdown had done the bulk of the work when it comes to lowering infections.

It comes as:

  • Wales set to SPEED UP end of lockdown with indoor group activities brought forward by 2 weeks and pubs to reopen Monday
  • Britain ‘no longer in a pandemic’ as jab rollout slashes Covid infections by 90 per cent, experts say
  • UK cases of Indian Covid variant rise 75% in a week – everything you need to know
  • Cat dies of Covid after catching deadly bug from UK owner and struggling with breathing problems
  • Up to 30 holiday destinations could be on the ‘green list’ this summer including Portugal, Dubai and the Maldives

There are three vaccines currently being rolled out in the UK, the Pfizer/BioNTech, the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Moderna.

Over 33.2 million people have received a first dose of a jab with 11.1 million having had a second.

It was yesterday revealed that just one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines leads to a two-thirds drop in coronavirus cases and is 74 per cent effective against symptomatic infection.

And two doses of Pfizer, there was a 70 per cent reduction in all cases and a 90 per cent drop in symptomatic cases – the people who are most likely to transmit coronavirus to others.

The view of government advisers is that the spike in cases over the winter months will be lower – meaning the third wave is not as severe, due to high vaccine uptake an levels of immunity.

The advisers said that infection levels will also depend on how people behave in the coming months.

This includes keeping spaces ventilators and hand hygiene.

 

It comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate 90,000 people in England have the virus.

Around one in 610 people currently have the bug – down from one in 480 the previous week.

The coronavirus reproduction number, or R rate England has remained steady between 0.8 and 1.

It means the infections are continue to shrink nationally.

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