England's deputy chief medical officer today warned that coronavirus will never be completely eradicated.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference this evening (Wednesday) that he believes the virus may become a 'seasonal problem' like the flu.

From next week, 50 hospital hubs across England will start offering the vaccine to the over 80s and health and social care staff.

But Prof Van-Tam warned that despite this positive development, the public may have to learn to live with the virus 'forever'.

"I don't think we're going to eradicate coronavirus ever", he told the press briefing.

"I think it's going to be with humankind forever.

"I think we may get to a point where coronavirus becomes a seasonal problem, I don't want to join too many parallels with flu, but possibly that is the kind of way we would learn to live it.

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"Do I think there will become a big moment where we have a massive party and throw on masks and hand sanitiser and celebrate like it's the end of the war, no I don't.

"I think those kinds of habits that we've learnt from, that clearly stop the spread of other respiratory viruses such as flu, will perhaps persist for many years and that may be a good thing if they do."

Prof Van-Tam urged anyone offered the coronavirus vaccine in the coming months to take it up.

“Everyone wants social distancing to come to an end – we are fed-up with it", he said.

Prof Van-Tam urged anyone offered the coronavirus vaccine to take it up

“Nobody wants lockdowns and to see the damage they do.

"But if you want that dream to come true as quickly as it can come true, then you have to take the vaccine when it is offered to you.

“Low uptake will almost certainly make restrictions last longer.”

Boris Johnson also warned at tonight's press conference that there are 'weeks, months of work to go' before restrictions can be eased.

He said: “Clearly as we go on in the next weeks and months and hopefully we’re able to use testing and the vaccine to drive it down…

"I suppose there will come a moment when… if you imagine the graph of immunised, vaccinated, inoculated people going up one way there will come a moment when we’re able obviously to start to relax the non-pharmaceutical interventions all the things that… are so difficult will be able to steadily, we hope, to take those off just as community testing… we hope will allow us to come down the tiering scales.

“But we’re not there yet and I’ve got to stress that. This is theoretical and we have got to wait and see how fast we can vaccinate people. It’s weeks, months of work to go before we’re in that situation.”