'We can't let our guard down': Virologist backs travel restrictions from Europe

29 March 2021, 10:00

By Fiona Jones

Top virologist Professor Lawrence Young backs restrictions in travel from mainland Europe because "we cannot afford to let our guard down" as Covid lockdown eases.

His sage warning comes as England’s lockdown eases and the country's 'stay at home' order is lifted.

The Prime Minister has also urged people to "remain cautious" as they take to the pitches, courts and fields for a summer of outdoor sports.

Prof Lawrence Young told LBC's Nick Ferrari he "doesn't see why" the roadmap will have to alter or halt due to its careful and gradual unlocking.

The issue, he said, is the surge of Covid cases in Europe.

"The situation in mainland Europe is very worrying, over 200,000 new cases a day, 2,000 deaths every day. We literally cannot afford to let our guard down," Prof Lawrence said.

"I do believe restrictions, certainly from France, need to be in place as soon as possible."

He branded looking at foreign holidays before August as "extremely challenging."

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The England lockdown changes from Monday are:

  • Stay at home rule ends - people will be permitted to leave their houses without the need for an exemption, although people should still minimise travel and work from home where they can
  • Outdoor gatherings permitted - groups of either six people or two households are permitted to meet outside, including in private gardens
  • Outdoor parent and child groups permitted -gGroups of up to 15 parents will be able to meet outside, with children under five years old not counting towards the limit.
  • Outdoor sport facilities reopen - outdoor sports facilities, including golf, tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools can reopen
  • Outdoor team sports allowed - amateur sports can restart, as formally organised outdoor sports are permitted
  • Weddings can take place - ceremonies can restart, but only with four guests in attendance
  • Outdoor protests can occur

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