Live coronavirus updates as opportunities could remove levels before Christmas, Bradford, Sheffield and Leeds

Scientists ‘very concerned’ about easing restrictions

Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said it would be a “terrible mistake” to relax the ban a few months before vaccines begin to take effect.

Boris Johnson said that after the first review of the measures in mid-December, he would remove areas where there is “strong evidence” that the coronavirus is continuing to decline, and that the law would have a “February 3 sunset”.

Asked about this, Professor OpenShow said the virus must be kept under control.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “We scientists are very concerned about caution at this stage. The rates are still very high, a lot of cases are coming to the hospital, a lot of people are dying.

“And if we stop the brakes at this stage, when the last one is visible, I think we will make a huge mistake.

“We have all made so many sacrifices, everyone has made so many sacrifices to reduce the transmission rate. I think it would be a terrible mistake to go a few months until the vaccines start to be effective.

“I think we have to control it and behave very, very sensitively. This right is very difficult to get and I do not envy politicians. “

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