Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown reached its first stage earlier this week as students returned to classrooms. But England is still under tight restrictions in terms of social contact which is not expected to begin to ease until 29 March.
In the UK, more than 23 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Ministers have pinned their ambition of easing lockdown on vaccinating as much of the adult population as possible by summer.
But some have warned that the country should still expect to see a third wave hit Britain.
Writing for the Telegraph, political commentator Fraser Nelson said: “When Britain reopens, we can expect a third wave of Covid.
“It won’t be nearly as big, thanks to the vaccines. But not everyone will be protected and no jab is 100 percent effective.
“So we should expect more illness, hospitalisation and Covid deaths. Then, perhaps, panic – and pressure for a fourth lockdown.”
He added: “The scientists are trying to talk about this risk, even if politicians are in denial.”
Earlier this week, Prof Chris Whitty told MPs that coming out of lockdown too quickly would be dangerous.
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“Next winter, it’s quite possible that Covid is as bad as flu.”
On Thursday, official figures showed the UK has recorded 6,753 new COVID-19 cases and a further 181 deaths related to the virus in the latest 24-hour period.
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “We are gradually in a very cautious way moving through the roadmap so that we have the time between steps to look at the impact lifting restrictions has had.
“The Prime Minister has been clear it is a cautious road map but he wants it to be irreversible.”