Responding to the Prime Minister's statement on the next steps on the roadmap out of lockdown, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We all want to go back to normal – health and care staff included. But while health leaders are fully aware that restrictions cannot persist indefinitely, it’s important to remember we are not out of the woods yet.
“We hope the Government is right to be relaxed about the planned final easing of the restrictions, including dropping the requirements to wear masks and to socially distance, but there is a real risk that doing so could lead to further mutations of the virus and increased pressures on all parts of the NHS.
“Although for now, there are comparatively few COVID cases in hospital and deaths are low, cases are skyrocketing, and the health service also continues to work to reduce the huge backlog of non-COVID treatment. We would urge the Government to be as clear as possible in its messaging to the public. The risks associated with COVID have not gone away, and the virus is still spreading at pace, so caution must be the watchword.”