The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales said he would be “very surprised” if all restrictions in Wales were relaxed by June 21

Dr Chris Jones spoke after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said spring and summer will bring changes to make life ‘incomparably better’ in England as he lays out plan to lighten up completely lock by this date

But the Welsh doctor said it was “absolutely impossible” to give a date when the restrictions would end and warned it would take a long time before people could do things like freely mix in night clubs

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales on Tuesday, he said: “I would be very surprised if (this date) were the case I think it will be a considerable amount of time before we mix freely in the boxes at night, or without any form of social distancing, or protection

“I would be very surprised if we could, but it would be wonderful if it were possible

“We still have to restrict our activities as this virus still thrives in person-to-person contact, and that will be the situation for many months to come”

The four UK countries are currently under lockdown restrictions to continue to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but there are different views on exiting the lockdown

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has indicated that non-essential shops and hairdressers in Wales could start a gradual reopening from March 15 In England the date given is no earlier than April 12 The big differences in every nation are here

There are also different approaches to reopening schools, and Dr Jones said it was “impossible” to give an exact date for all restrictions to end

He added: “We have seen throughout the pandemic that it is continually evolving and we are learning all the time

“It is absolutely impossible, in my opinion, to say that at any given date several months from now this will be the situation. We have to take it as we find it and take it step by step

Concerned about reports that people on social media were planning a big night out on June 21 after Boris Johnson gave the date on Monday night, he said: “The message to the public has always been very important

“Sending the message that everything will return to normal in a few months is almost too open

“This is a message with some risk and we still need people to obey the rules because we know this pandemic could easily get out of hand again

“We are not out of the woods yet This is a critical time when there is a risk with relaxing restrictions”

And he also warned that there was the “real risk” of a third wave is that the restrictions are lifted too quickly and too soon

Dr Jones, who advises the Welsh government from a scientific point of view, added: “We are all delighted that we are talking about easing restrictions, but we have never been in this position before, and the risks are probably greater as we relax restrictions now, that there have been in the pandemic due to the new, more communicable variant

“Our advice to ministers has been a smooth, gentle and gradual approach, which we hope will not delay us at all, but will give us a more stable path based on evidence of the impact of our changes “

He said there would be a risk with opening any restrictions

All schools in England are expected to reopen on March 8, but not all children are expected to return to Welsh schools before the Easter holidays on April 12 at the earliest

Dr Jones said: “Opening schools all at once is a substantial change because we know that when schools are open it creates a tremendous amount of opportunities for families to mingle in various settings.

“The opening of schools has a definite effect on the rate of R, and how this will work in reality with the new, more transmissible form of the virus is to some extent uncertain”

He said: “I think the suggestion that we are on a one-way road to freedom is perhaps a bit of a hostage to fortune

“We know that with each step of unlocking there is more risk, there is the risk of seeing another upward bump in cases As we approach each step, it is possible that we had to take a break and not make the kind of progress we would otherwise wish “

Prime Minister defended his “cautious but also irreversible” approach to easing restrictions with a four-step plan on Monday, saying he will not “flirt” with people’s lives

But although he presented his plans as a “one-way street to freedom,” he admitted he could not guarantee that the vaccination program will prevent restrictions from returning

Lockdown Wales

World news – UK – Top doctor downplays odds of Wales fully reopening on June 21