Professor Mark Woolhouse, an infectious disease expert at the University of Edinburgh who sits on the Government’s advisory body, has said that there is a “middle ground” between draconian restrictions and opening up society and the economy.

“I think there is a middle ground, where you could have some of both,” he said. “The way you find that middle ground is not by simply focusing on suppressing the virus through the whole population, but concentrating on those people who most need protecting.

“We know who those people are, the elderly, the frail, the vulnerable, those with a set of comorbidities.

“They are enormously more at risk of this virus and if we can protect them, that gives us some wriggle room to relax measures elsewhere for the rest of us.

Prof Woolhouse also said that the Government’s current coronavirus strategy amounts to “sitting it out for another six months”.

“Most people I’ve talked to in vaccine development think that we may have a vaccine in six months, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to roll it out on a mass scale in that time,” he told The Andrew Marr Show.

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