A SENIOR medical figure at Dorset County Hospital has called for a ‘gradual’ easing of lockdown measures as the Prime Minister outlines his ‘roadmap’ out of restrictions.

Boris Johnson is due to set out the country’s route out of lockdown today as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he wants to ensure measures are eased ‘carefully and cautiously’.

Covid-19 cases across Dorset have continued to decrease during the third national lockdown and have fallen to pre-lockdown levels.

Professor Alastair Hutchison, chief medical officer at Dorset County Hospital, said the vaccination programme has helped lower cases in the county and the hospital’s coronavirus patient numbers.

Speaking about the easing of lockdown, he agrees that a gradual easing of restrictions is the best approach.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Prof Hutchison Prof Hutchison

Prof Hutchison said: “I think what will happen is there will be a gradual release of restrictions.

“I think there will be a gradual change and Boris Johnson has already suggested that is what the plan will be.

“I think in terms of the level of restrictions, from a purely medical point of view, after Easter would be right.

“But of course, the Government has to balance the economic hardship as well and therefore think it should be relaxed but then again it depends what sort of relaxation it is, but the Government has not made it clear.

“I am just waiting to see what they say.”

When asked what lifting of lockdown restrictions would be based upon, Prof Hutchison said the Government had a ‘difficult balancing act’ of economic and medical aspects.

He said: “You cannot base it just on medical aspects. You have to strike a balance and that’s where the Government will take advice from both sides.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Coronavirus cases have fallen in Dorset. Coronavirus cases have fallen in Dorset.

“They will look at advice from medical experts as well as economic experts. The number of hardship with jobs lost and businesses closing can be every bit as damaging as the effects of Covid.

“So it has be weighed in the balance.”

But Prof Hutchison was keen to share a warning about a third wave of coronavirus and noted the country is not out of the woods yet.

He said: “The two biggest risks are first that we release lockdown too soon and people just suddenly think it’s all over and we can get back to normal life.

“The second concern would be if a new variant comes into the country and the vaccines aren’t good at protecting against them. Those are only two ways which we could see a third wave.

“Hopefully as more people are vaccinated, the likelihood of a third wave is shorter but then again, it depends on other variants’ development and other countries being vaccinated.

“It would certainly decrease any new strain developing in the UK, but when travel starts up again, it will be possible to import another strain from another country.”