UK lockdown must be lifted gradually, could last six months - medical official

Britain's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, speaks at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) digital news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain March 29, 2020. Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britons may be subject to some form of lockdown measures for six months or longer, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said on Sunday, warning the country faces a second wave of coronavirus if they are lifted too quickly.

The government has said it will review in three weeks the lockdown steps it put in place last Monday. Harries said it is too soon to know if they have had the desired effect of reducing the peak of the spread of the virus in Britain.

“We must not then suddenly revert to our normal way of living, that would be quite dangerous. If we stop then all of our efforts will be wasted and we could potentially see a second peak,” Harries told a news conference.

“Over time, probably over the next six months, we will have a three week review, we will see where we are going. We need to keep that lid on and then gradually we will be able to hopefully adjust some of the social distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal.”

Harries added that it was a “moving target” and “we just need to wait to see how successful we have been”.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Costas Pitas