Coronavirus vaccinations are under way in the UK, which Matt Hancock has heralded as the “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Around four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to be delivered by the end of the year, enough for two million people.
But when will things start to return to “normal”, can we stop wearing masks, and what does this mean for the tier system?
When will we go ‘back to normal’?
The decision about when coronavirus restrictions can start to be eased is both political and societal, Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said.
Asked by MPs on Wednesday, Dec 9, if the vaccine rollout means restrictions can start to be eased, Mr Whitty said the immunisations would start to reduce the mortality rate and the rate of hospitalisations in the UK.
But he added: “At a certain point, society, through political leaders, through elected ministers and through Parliament, will say this level of risk is a level that we think it is appropriate to tolerate.”
Then, it will have to be decided if the risk is low enough to “largely do away with certainly the most onerous (restrictions) that we have to deal with”, he added.
He stressed this will happen “incrementally” and restrictions would not be lifted all at once on a certain day.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, previously suggested the country would start getting back to “normal” after Easter.
At a press conference on December 14, Professor Kevin Fenton, the regional director of Public Health England, encouraged Londoners to accept the vaccine as soon as they have the chance. Speaking on the same day that the Government announced the capital would move to Tier 3; he stated the jab was “highly effective”, before suggesting it is one of the “keys to unlock the door to the end of this pandemic”.