LONDON–A group of scientists advising the UK government on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak has cautioned against loosening controls, saying that doing so could result in a "small surge" in cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
Minutes from a meeting with members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released on Tuesday warned of an increase in cases "on a similar scale to January 2021 after later stages" of the path out of lockdown, according to the DPA news agency.
Despite the success of the UK's vaccine rollout, which has seen more than 31.5 million people receive their first dose of the vaccine and 5.4 million receive both doses so far, the warning was issued.
According to scientists from Imperial College London, "vaccination alone will not be sufficient to keep the epidemic under control" due to eligibility, vaccine hesitancy, and the high transmissibility of the circulating Covid-19 variant.
They advised that the best way for Britain to keep hospitalizations and deaths low would be to maintain restrictions at stage two of the planned easing beyond April 12, but this is dependent on people following the rules.
Stage 2 permits groups of six people to meet outside, non-essential retail to reopen, pubs and restaurants to reopen only outdoors, and gyms and salons to reopen.
International travel is not authorized, and events such as plays and concerts are postponed.
England would also enter stage two on April 12, while Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have already permitted some businesses to reopen.
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