Friday, Mar 05, 2021

Don’t go to pub with friends after lockdown, top doctor warns

Those hoping to visit pubs in the near future will be left crying into their pints, at home, as top doctors recommend staying away from the classic British haunt.
The deputy chief medical officer has indicated that visits to your favourite boozer is still a long way off as the battle to cut coronavirus infection rates continues.

Dr Jenny Harries, one of the UK’s top medics, was speaking as moves to increase travel and use of outdoor spaces stepped up a gear.

She acknowledged people were keen to get back to the pub but that avoiding watering holes was the best way to reduce catching and spreading Covid-19.

This is because the virus does not survive outside as long as it does indoors.

Dr Harries and local government secretary Robert Jenrick were asked at the daily Downing Street briefing about mass gatherings and whether they would be allowed to resume before pubs were permitted to reopen.

Any moves to ease lockdown, Mr Jenrick said, would be linked to the ‘significantly less’ outdoor transmission rates but added public transport made it ‘a more complex picture’.

Dr Harries said mixing with friends and others outside in a small environment outside your home, such as pubs, would not be a good idea.

‘If you go as a family unit and sit in one place and you’ve got the same exposure there that you would in your house at home, that’s probably quite a safe environment,’ she explained.

‘If you go with a whole load of friends that you haven’t seen from before the coronavirus lockdown, sit in a pub in a very small environment, lean well over each other on the table and stay there for some hours face-to-face, that’s really not a good thing to do.’

Another potentially high-risk activity was people travelling in cars with those outside their family unit.

She added: ‘Don’t go to the pub on the way is probably the one to reduce your risk, although I recognise that everybody is wanting to do that.’

Fellow deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam earlier this week also played down the prospect of an imminent return to outdoor activities, saying that unless a ‘painstaking’ approach to easing lockdown was taken, the virus would return.

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