How long can we expect Covid-19 restrictions to last?
With restrictions across the UK gradually starting to lift and the population beginning to look forward to getting back to a new kind of normal, we could be forgiven for thinking that this is the beginning of the end of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Although the vaccination strategy here in the UK continues at a steady pace and lockdown and quarantine measures have already started to ease, many experts are warning that we could be faced with more attempts to control the virus for at least the next 18 months.
Some scientists are also warning that Covid-19 is just something that we will all have to learn to live with much like seasonal viruses such as the flu. The reality is that many uncertainties still remain as researchers continue to find out more about the mechanics of the potentially deadly virus and how we need to alter our way of living in order to stay safe and healthy.
Here are a few impacts of the virus that are set to be with us for the foreseeable future:
Regional or national lockdowns
Even with the UK emerging from a third national lockdown, there is absolutely no guarantee that infection levels will not spike or new strains be identified that pose a significant risk to the health of the UK population.
The UK government is keeping a firm focus on infection, death and hospitalisation rates in all areas and has commented that further regional and national lockdowns could be enforced if necessary.
Face masks and other PPE
To help slow down virus transmission, face masks are going to stay part of the public landscape for quite some time as they help to reduce airborne particles being transmitted from one person to another.
In countries like Japan face masks were already a normal part of daily life to help contain outbreaks of flu and other common illnesses, and many experts have predicted that this may become the case for the UK population too.
Other items of PPE such as plastic gloves and aprons for care home staff and those in client-facing roles are expected to stay in place.
The public consciousness when it comes to virus transmission has significantly changed the way in which we interact with each other. Gone are hugs and handshakes as we all stay the obligatory 6 feet away from each other to keep everyone safe and stop the virus in its tracks.
Social distancing has now become embedded in our daily behaviours and with the threat of Covid-19 still very much present, we can expect these restrictions to last for some time to come.