Chris Whitty: society will have to learn to live with Covid in similar way to flu

England’s chief medical officer says unrealistic to think border policy can stop new variants entering

The idea that Covid variants can be stopped from entering the country is “not realistic”, Prof Chris Whitty has said, adding Covid will eventually have to be managed in a similar manner to serious seasonal viruses such as flu.

Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, England’s chief medical adviser said the relaxation of Covid restrictions would likely result in the R number rising above 1, and the chance of variants gaining a foothold and spreading increasing. The more cases that have been imported, the quicker that will happen. As a result, said Whitty, border policies are focused on countries with more cases, or more cases of particular variants, than the UK.

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