Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), also said that people are likely to need regular vaccinations against the deadly virus.
Walport, who is a former chief scientific adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that the pandemic would be controlled by “global vaccination” but it is not “going to be a disease like smallpox which could be eradicated by vaccination”.
He added: “This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations.
“So a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals.”
Scientists around the world have been battling for months to try to get an effective coronavirus vaccine ready for mass use. The most promising results so far have come out of Oxford University, where a vaccine is in the final stages of testing before it receives approval for public distribution.
Walport said localised lockdowns are the best way to go at the moment to reduce a spike in the spread of Covid-19.
The whole point is to improve the local control, increase the amount of testing, give guidance to avoid that happening, but is there a situation where it could get out of control?
Well obviously that’s possible and that’s why it’s so important that we’ll work together.
People do understand that this is a risk.
“If it’s allowed to get out of control, then there could be much more draconian measures.”