Coronavirus will return every winter, the UK's chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance has said.
Sir Patrick said the virus is "still a significant risk" and without vaccination, the UK would have "huge levels of hospitalisation".
The chief scientific adviser appeared on BBC Breakfast on Thursday and told viewers to expect Coronavirus to return each winter as seasonal flu does.
He said: "As this infection gradually becomes endemic, it will occur year on year . We will see this circulating every winter in particular. Gradually as immunity builds, the protection will be there and the consequences will be reduced but we are not there yet. We still have people going into hospital. It’s still a significant risk."
Read more : Health board says hospitals are under 'extreme pressure' due to Covid.
Sir Patrick also spoke of the uncertainty in current modelling.
He said: "The models are quite uncertain at the moment. Nobody is really clear in which direction this is going but they are clear on the two big variables that could change that. One is waning immunity. If immunity wanes faster than expected, you will see a bigger increase.
"The second is the behavioural change- how quickly we return to pre-pandemic behaviours."
When asked about the current levels of infection, Sir Patrick said: “It looks fairly flat but at a very high level. The high level remains a concern and from a high level you can increase very quickly. If we had levels of cases like this without vaccination, you would have huge levels of hospitalisation."
Sir Patrick was also asked about climate issues ahead of the COP26 conference starting this Sunday.
He said that scientific advice is to reduce air travel, despite the government announcing a 50% reduction in Domestic Air Passenger duty during the autumn budget announcement.
Sir Patrick said: “This is a global issue and governments across the world need to think about what actions they are going to take.
"My advice is that all of us taking some action to reduce the amount we fly would be a beneficial thing.
“It’s not the only thing- of course lots of other things need to happen as well. And of course politicians need to make choices based on other considerations as well but that’s the science advice in terms of climate and I’ve been clear about that."
He also said that he personally cycles to work, eats less meat, and uses less air travel in order to do his bit for the planet
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