Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the road out of lockdown will aim to move the public towards “personal responsibility” rather than having social distancing laws “that get in the way of normal life”.
Speaking a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans which will ease restrictions over the course of spring and summer, Hancock stressed part of the process would be learning to live with the disease.
“Patrick Vallance was clear yesterday that mask wearing in winter is one of the examples of things that might need to stay,” he told Times Radio.
“What we want to do is get rid of the social distancing-type laws that get in the way of normal life and move to personal responsibility, rather than laws dictating how all of us live our daily lives.
“But, it is also clear that eradication is unfortunately not possible with this disease, so we are going to have to learn to live with it.
“In the same way that for instance we live with flu, but we don’t let flu get in the way of living our lives.
“But we do vaccinate against it every year – in the case of flu we vaccinate those who are most vulnerable – and so I expect to have that vaccination programme as a regular feature of future life.”
He also said it was “absolutely on all of us” to come forward to accept the vaccine when it is offered.
Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We want to see that vaccine uptake go as high as possible.
“But it’s absolutely on all of us to come forward and get the vaccine. It’s the right thing to do.
“I want to obviously offer the vaccine to all adults by the end of July, that’s the target that we think that we can meet, and all over-50s by April 15, and we have been able to bring that forward.
“But we are also, alongside that, working incredibly hard to encourage people to take it if they are unsure.”