Increasing the social distancing recommendation would have little impact on controlling the spread of coronavirus as the new variant is unlikely to make the virus travel further, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said he could not see how droplets containing the virus would gain the extra distance “like in the long jump”.
Reports have suggested Government scientists want the recommended gap increased from one metre, if mitigation measures such as masks or screens are in place, to two metres. That would mean an increase in distancing from two metres to three metres without mitigation.
Prof Van-Tam told LBC Radio: “The question you are asking is whether the new variant is really going to be capable of moving a greater distance, and that doesn’t kind of fit with my biological understanding, because the distance relates to the force of the cough or the sneeze or the respiratory droplet that flies out of you.
“Unless we were saying that the variant makes you cough in a different way or cough more violently, I can’t see how you can gain that extra distance, like in the long jump as it were.”