A LEADING scientific adviser believes mask requirements could be lifted later this year.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said he could see “legal requirements” on masks and social distancing ending later this year.
However, he questioned whether people would stop wearing them.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast Professor Ferguson was asked whether people will need to continue to wear masks and keep up social distancing for a long time.
He said: “I suspect later this year, the mandates, the legal requirements to do some of those things will have gone.
“I think there’s an interesting question as to whether people’s behaviour changes as quickly. People have got used to being very cautious around each other, used to wearing masks.
“I can’t predict how quickly that will change or whether we’ve actually seen a permanent change in society, to some degree.”
The scientific adviser added: “I think it’s quite possible that this pandemic, which has been an immensely traumatic event for this country and for the world, will cause significant long-term cultural changes, behavioural changes in the population.”
He said, for example, it is routine in Southeast Asia for people to wear masks if they have a cold or any sort of respiratory disease.
“I can’t say whether that kind of cultural norm will cross to Europe, to the UK, but it’s quite possible that it will going forward.
“We have got used to being careful, particularly if we’re slightly ill ourselves, about not wanting to infect other people, and so those sort of things may well happen here.”