Government scientists have warned that there is zero chance that coronavirus will be eradicated for good.
The government's chief scientific adviser believes the virus "won't disappear" and that it will likely continue to circulate the same way other viruses have for "thousands of years".
Addressing the public on March 23, Sir Patrick Vallance revealed at a Downing Street press conference that there is "zero chance" that the virus would be eradicated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added that "eradication" of the virus "wouldn't make sense for one country alone".
Sir Patrick said: "We are getting the numbers as low as we can but we don't expect this is going to disappear.
"Expect that there will be recurrences of infections, particularly in the winter and that this will become a circulating virus as others have done over thousands of years – and I think this is unfortunately what we have.
"I think the chance of eradication, true eradication, ie zero, are in themselves close to zero."
Professor Whitty also said: "I regret to say that I think the chances of eradicating this disease – which means getting rid of it absolutely everywhere or as close to zero makes no difference.
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"We have only ever eradicated one disease, which is smallpox, with a phenomenal vaccine over a very long period of time – literally over hundreds of years.
“Others have come close but it’s very difficult. In terms of eliminating it from the UK, this is a disease which, for most people who have it, have mild symptoms or in some cases, no symptoms who can then transmit it and that makes it very difficult to find.
“We have vaccines, very good vaccines but they are not 100 per cent effective vaccines, we have good tests but not everybody who needs a test is getting tested.”
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The news comes as children become next in line for the Covid-19 vaccine and people who are unable to work from home are able to get tests without symptoms.
Sir Patrick said that having adequate testing in place at the start of the pandemic would have been beneficial.
Both the uptakes of vaccines and testing is believed to have helped reduce the spread of the virus across the UK.
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