A leading public health expert has expressed concerns over lifting lockdown restrictions across the UK, saying it might be an "experiment".

Professor Devi Sridhar, who has been advising the Scottish Government throughout the pandemic, said we are in "uncertain territory" as UK nations prepare to lift lockdown restrictions amid an unprecedented surge in cases. 

The Edinburgh University expert told Good Morning Britain: "I think we are in a massive experiment.

"The world is watching, we have a new variant - Delta - which is spreading rapidly, the dominant one. 

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“We have high vaccination uptake, we’re surging in terms of cases, higher case numbers and we also have hospitalisations rising. And we’re hoping that the vaccines will hold it off."

She added: "Right now we’re in very uncertain territory. I think the message to give to businesses is not to say, as we’ve seen in all the false promises of ‘it’s over by Christmas, return to work’ that we saw last summer and ‘it’s over by Freedom Day’. 

"We need some realism, which is the virus is here. We’re going to have to get businesses back to normal. Many of these businesses need to operate at full capacity to have a profit.

"How do we manage that? How do we use our vaccination programme, our testing, supported isolation for those who test positive as well as face coverings to actually protect businesses and allow more mixing and more circulation as we have that in-built protection."

It comes as Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed Scotland will lift coronavirus restrictions on time as planned, although with “fundamental differences” to England.

The First Minister had previously announced mainland Scotland would move to Level 0 on July 19, while all restrictions are due to be lifted on August 9.

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The Finance Secretary confirmed the plan of action but clarified certain restrictions will continue for a much longer time.

Scots will have to wait a little longer before ditching masks as wearing face coverings is likely to remain mandatory even after August 9.

Under Level 0 restrictions, up to 8 people from 4 households can meet in homes. The number rises to  10 people from 4 households in restaurants.

Up to 15 people from 15 households will be able to gather outdoors. 

Meanwhile, on that same day, England is likely to scrap all laws on mask wearing and social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.