A SAGE expert has said we all need to remain cautious from Monday despite the lifting of lockdown rules in England.

SAGE member and former chief scientific adviser to the Government Sir Mark Walport told Sky News: "There's good reason to be concerned."

He warned that 'if the variant takes off': "There will be very large numbers of infected people, particularly among those people who haven't been vaccinated yet."

He added: "A small fraction of a very large number gives you potentially a large number of people that could be very sick."

Sir Mark advised people that just because the rules allow more freedom from Monday, that doesn't mean we should ditch social distancing.

He said: "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

Sir Mark said people should, as far as possible, continue to socialise outdoors despite the rules now allowing people to socialise indoors.

He said when inside with others you should have a window open.

Sir Mark said we should 'hug cautiously'.

When asked what 'hug cautiously means SDir Mark added: "Tight clinches should be avoided."

He said that while there are hotspots in the UK, the virus is quite widespread across all four nations and has been found in more than 60 countries across the world.

He said it appears to be becoming the dominant strain.