SAGE's chief pandemic modeller says no to hugging strangers

17 May 2021, 15:32

By Tim Dodd

The government's chief pandemic modeller Professor Graham Medley OBE says it 'will come as a relief' to not have to hug strangers anymore.

His comments come as England sees the next stage of lockdown relaxation today, with the resumption of some international travel, indoor dining and entertainment, and larger social gatherings.

Professor Medley began by telling Nick Ferrari that a third wave is "going to happen at some point in the summer - maybe late into September or October depending on how people mix."

He continued, "One of things we can't do with the modelling is predict what people will do. So you asked me if I'd go to a pub or a restaurant but really it's not just me, it's about what everyone else does."

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"All that does is create uncertainty, because if everybody went to the pub tonight, we'd be in a very different position than if nobody went to the pub tonight."

Nick then asked: "Do you imagine you'd hug anyone this year?"

"I'll certainly hug my children, and my grandchildren and others who are very close to me, but will I be hugging strangers? No, but that will come as a relief as I don't really like hugging strangers," replied Professor Medley.

On international travel, Nick asked if he was a little nervous from hearing people are queuing at airports to go to countries such as Portugal.

Professor Medley said: "No not particularly, Portugal is an extremely low prevalence so that's one of the countries I wouldn't be worried about."

Earlier today, holidaymakers were given a stern warning by a Ryanair pilot as they jetted off to the "green light" destination of Portugal when restrictions on foreign travel were eased.