Matt Hancock today suggested that we may not be able to hug anyone new until a successful coronavirus vaccine has been found - meaning those isolating alone could have to wait months for physical contact.
During Tuesday's This Morning, hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby pressed the Health Secretary for an estimate of when people would be able to hug someone they have just met, to which Mr Hancock responded: “Well, I wouldn’t recommend it.”
When the presenters asked for a timeline on when we can be physically intimate again, he replied: “Well really, to get to the point where this is totally sorted, it’s when we have a treatment or a vaccine.
“Those developing a vaccine think that they should have it on stream for this autumn. I'm cautious, I'm giving them all the support that we possibly can, but the science of vaccines is very complicated."
Unfortunately, even if a vaccine is found soon most experts think that it won't be available to the public until 2021. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week: "While we hope for a breakthrough, hope is not a plan. A mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away. Indeed, in a worst-case scenario, we may never find a vaccine."
That, of course, means sex with a new partner could be off the table for a while, too, and since physical affection is a basic human need, the next few months could be extremely difficult for some.
In a 50-page document released this week, the government announced that from tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13) people in England will be able to take unlimited exercise and meet up with one person from a different household, so long as they stay 2 metres apart.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, Boris Johnson said: “If we as a nation begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months we may be able to go further.”
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