PEOPLE have been urged “not to go wild” after social restrictions were eased as one expert warned “we could go back to square one”.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said people should not behave in the same way as they did before the pandemic as he called for people to act cautiously for “a little bit more time”.

It comes after the Prime Minister urged people to continue to “exercise restraint” as beer gardens were packed and shoppers flocked to high streets after the latest round of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England on Monday.

Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that although vaccines had helped, lockdown restrictions had done “the bulk of the work” in reducing Covid-19 infections.

And he warned that the easing of lockdown restrictions will “inevitably” lead to more infections and deaths.

Asked about the remarks, Prof Harnden said: “I think he’s probably concerned, as I am, about the scenes that we saw of people actually enjoying the outside, pubs and then the crowded spaces – well, of course what that will do is push infection rates up.

“Every time that we ‘unlockdown’, we push infection rates up, and the danger of pushing infection rates up is we get much more transmission in the community.

“And new variant strains such as the South African strain – we really don’t want that to become prevalent in this country because of course the vaccines don’t work quite as well (against it).

“So I think he’s trying to be cautious with everybody.

“We will all want to get our lives back, we all want to enjoy ourselves again, but we must be cautious and do this slowly. Otherwise we’ll get back to square one.

“We don’t need to behave in exactly the same way that we behaved before this pandemic, because if we’re just that little bit more cautious, just give it a little bit more time to get the complete population vaccinated, get infection rates down, we will be in a lot better place.

“Of course we can enjoy ourselves, but we just need to maintain that social distancing at the moment.

“We’ve all been desperate for our freedoms – and it has been great this week when we can get out to the pub gardens and enjoy the outside space – but we must not go wild.

“If we start going wild and completely ignore all the basic rules, then we will see more transmission and things like the South African variant will become more prevalent.”