Britons should not “squander the gains” made against the coronavirus pandemic in recent months, Medical Director of the National Health Service (NHS) England Stephen Powis warned.
“Enormous progress” has been made, but it “does not mean job done”, Xinhua news agency quoted Powis as saying in an article in the Sunday Telegraph.
His warning came ahead of further easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday.
From Monday, the stay-at-home rule in England will be scapped scrapped and groups of up to six, or two households, will be allowed to meet outside, including in private gardens.
From April 12, non-essential retail, as well as restaurants and pubs, if serving people outdoors, will be allowed to reopen in England.
Powis warned that coronavirus could still “wreak more havoc and ill-health on a significant scale”, citing concerns over variants.
“We need to hold our nerve and drive for the line, so everyone can get back safely and soon to our normal lives.”
On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England still on course for “roadmap to freedom”, but warned the impact of Europe’s third wave of infections on the country.
“Bitter experience” had shown a wave like the one in Europe would hit Britain “three weeks later”, he said.
Nearly 30 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
The NHS England has warned that Britain is going to face a “significant reduction” in vaccine supplies from March 29 onwards.
But the government has insisted the country is “on course” to meet its target of offering a first dose to the top nine priority groups by April 15 and all adults by the end of July.