March 20, 2020 / 1:28 PM / 16 days ago

UK social distancing measures may last a year, government advisers say

A deliveroo driver is seen in Belfast just after rush hour as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

LONDON (Reuters) - Restrictive measures to minimise social interaction in Britain might need to be in place for a year to prevent the health service being overloaded, according to scientists advising the government.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said in a document published on Friday that the government might have to alternate between periods of more and less strict restrictive measures.

“It was agreed that a policy of alternating between periods of more and less strict social distancing measures could plausibly be effective at keeping the number of critical care cases within capacity,” the advisers said.

“These would need to be in place for at least most of a year.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Michael Holden

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