Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now
Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
Social distancing and other Covid measures should stay "forever", according to a SAGE scientist.
Professor Susan Michie, of University College London, said she thinks some restrictions could be needed over the long-term.
And when pushed by her Channel 5 interviewer on how long that might be, she warned: "I think forever, to some extent."
Her comments come as Brits wait for Boris Johnson to reveal if so-called Freedom Day can go ahead on June 21.
The Prime Minister previously said he hoped to end all Covid restrictions by that date.
Do you have a view on this story? Email [email protected] or let us know in the comments below.
Professor Susan Michie
But a surge in cases and continued fears over the Delta variant, first identified in India, has put the unlocking in jeopardy.
It has been reported that a 'mix and match' approach could be taken, with some restrictions lifted but others remaining.
For example, the 30-person cap on weddings could be removed in a boost for engaged couples, it was reported.
Prof Michie said of easing lockdown: "Vaccines are a really important part of the pandemic control but it's only one part.
"Test, trace and isolate system, border controls are really essential. And there third thing is people's behaviour.
"That is the behaviour of social distancing, of when you're indoors making sure there's good ventilation and hand and surface hygiene.
Brits are waiting to hear if restrictions can be lifted on June 21
(Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
"We'll need to keep these going in the long term and that will probably be good not only for Covid but to reduce other diseases."
Presenter Claudia-Liza Armah then asked the Prof Michie: "When you say the long term, what do you mean by that – how long?"
Professor Michie replied: 'I think forever, to some extent."
The scientist was also asked later in the programme if she thought that people could realistically live with continued restrictions.
She said, according to reports: "I think there's lots of different behaviours we've changed in our lives. We now routinely wear seat belts, we didn't use to.
"We now routinely pick up dog poo in the park, we didn't use to.
UK economy grew at fastest level since last July in April as Covid restrictions eased
Hospital worker used dead patient's card to buy sweets and fizzy drinks minutes later
"When people see that there is a threat and there is something they can do to reduce that… themselves, their loved ones and their communities, what we see now over this last year is people do that.
"And I think we can just begin to adopt routines.
"When we go out of the house we check we've got our phone, we've got our keys, we've got tissues, we've got a face mask in case we need to use it."
Prof Michie spoke amid an ongoing conversation around June 21, and whether the nation will be able to drop Covid measures by then.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said on Friday it was "highly unlikely" the full relaxation of coronavirus restrictions will go ahead later this month.
When asked on BBC Breakfast if she thought "caution and temperance" was needed when opening up she added: "I do, I am desperate to unlock, I think like everybody else, to try to get back to normal.
It is thought that a 'mix and match' approach could be taken on June 21
"Here in the North West lots of us have been in almost continuous lockdown for nearly a year-and-a-half now and it's just really starting to take its toll.
"But I think if we proceed too fast, if the Government can't get control of the new variant that has emerged which is more transmissible than previous variants, then we could end up in another lockdown and this has got to be the last lockdown."
When asked if she supported a delay she said: "I think it's highly unlikely they are going to go ahead with full unlocking on the 21st [of June]."