Britain should be "more or less free" of coronavirus by Christmas, a scientist advising the government says.
Sage member and epidemiologist, Professor John Edmunds, has warned that the virus is not going anywhere any time soon even with the vaccine rollout.
According to Prof Edmunds, we are likely to not see the back of Covid-19 until the end of 2021 due to new variants mutating, The Independent reports.
Following Boris Johnson's announcement that a quarter of adults in England had received their first vaccine dose, Professor Edmunds told ITV that he thinks "we will be more or less free of this by the end of this year… say Christmas".
He added: "I know that companies are working very hard on developing new vaccines in order to protect against these potential new variants that might affect us, so I do think we need to be very cautious at the moment about travel abroad."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that more than one million people in Scotland have also had their initial jab to protect themselves against the virus.
A variant of coronavirus picked up in Bristol is the latest mutation to test vaccines, which scientists are already looking at modifying to better deal with new versions.
Prof Edmunds warned the Bristol variant "may be able to reinfect people who have been previously infected or who have been previously vaccinated," so allowing it to spread further would be "very dangerous".
An AstraZeneca senior executive confirmed last week that work is underway on adapting the Oxford vaccine, so it can neutralise emerging variants by autumn this year.
Commenting on schools reopening next month, Prof Edmunds said Sage was not "absolutely certain" and it would be "touch and go" whether the reproduction number or R-value, would rise above one.
He said: "If we opened them up completely if we opened secondary schools and primary schools both at the same time, I suspect we'd be lucky to keep the reproduction number below one…
"I think we have to do everything very gradually and see how it goes."
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