Coronavirus news – live: Police warn against big Easter gatherings as Whitty says treat virus like flu

Coronavirus in numbers

Police have warned people not to gather in large groups over the Easter weekend, with concerns that people may be tempted to meet inside as colder weather sweeps across the country.

The Metropolitan Police said large gatherings, including house parties and illegal raves over the long bank holiday weekend will be shut down.

But police chiefs are also worried that the new rules – which allow up to six people or two households to meet outdoors – are “almost impossible to enforce”.

It comes as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said that coronavirus will eventually have to be managed in a similar way to serious seasonal viruses such as flu and repeated his assertion that Covid-19 is not going to go away.

Speaking during an online Royal Society of Medicine event, Prof Whitty said: “It is not fly, it is a completely different disease, but the point I am making is here is a seasonal, very dangerous disease that kills thousands of people every year, and society has chosen a particular way around it.”

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Professor Chris Whitty recalls ‘several really dangerous misses’ at start of vaccine rollout

Chris Whitty has spoken of “several really dangerous near misses” on the first day of the rollout of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine which led to changes in procedures when jabs are given.

England’s chief medical officer said the “severe near-miss anaphylactic reactions” led to a 15-minute monitoring period being introduced after each jab.

He also predicted a “wide portfolio” of coronavirus vaccines could be available in two years but warned caution over the virus would be needed in the meantime due to the threat of new variants.

Zoe Tidman reports:

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Covid warning from police amid fears new rules ‘almost impossible’ to enforce

Police chiefs have warned that enforcing new lockdown rules may be “almost impossible” ahead of a long Easter weekend which is likely to see people across the country meeting outdoors.

The easing of tight lockdown restrictions after three months led to vast crowds gathering together on beaches and in parks across England this week, drawn out by new freedoms and balmy temperatures.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Martin Hewitt described some of the rule-breaking scenes as “disgraceful” and said officers were still encountering garden parties involving dozens of people.

My colleagues Andy Gregory and Vincent Wood have the story:

Kate Ng2 April 2021 09:26

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog following the latest updates in the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate Ng2 April 2021 09:18

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