Boris Johnson to lay out England’s last Covid lockdown relaxation

Covid lockdown relaxation
Covid lockdown relaxation

Boris Johnson stated people must “learn to live with this virus” and “exercise judgement”.

Infections are expected to increase when rules are relaxed, but ministers believe deaths will be less by vaccinations.

The fourth and last stage of the government’s roadmap out lockdown in England was postponed the previous month to no earlier than 19 July.

Among the restrictions presently in place are the “rule of six” for get-togethers, table service in pubs and restaurants, capacity limits in theatres and cinemas, and the shutting of nightclubs.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own coronavirus rules. The Scottish government has proposed it may keep some basic measures, like wearing masks, until its following review in August.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chairman of the British Medical Association, said it “makes no sense” to halt wearing face coverings in surrounded public spaces amongst an increasing number of cases of the Delta variant.

He shared with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “We know that face masks are proven to reduce the spread of this infection” and “can’t understand why – at a time where there are ‘exceptional high levels of cases’ – we would “knowingly want people to become infected”.

In comments published by Downing Street before the prime minister provides his update at a 17:00 BST news conference, Mr Johnson stated he “must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks”.

But admiring the successful vaccine rollout, he mentioned he would “set out how we can restore people’s freedoms”, adding, “As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from Covid-19 and exercise judgement when going about our lives.”

Downing Street stated step four would go ahead in two weeks only if the government’s “four tests” for relaxing curbs had been met.

The decision on those tests – on the jab rollout, vaccine efficacy, hospital admissions, and new virus variants – would only be deep-rooted on 12 July following a review of the latest data, No 10 said.

The conclusion of reviews on the use of Covid certification – or vaccine passports – and on social-distancing measures are also due to be declared by Mr Johnson.

It is assumed the control banning pub-goers from ordering a drink directly at the bar will be dropped.

However, Downing Street emphasized that rules against travel to high-risk countries, the need to isolate if people test positive, and surge and community Covid testing programmes would remain in the future.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid will be apprising MPs on the changes in the Commons simultaneously as Mr Johnson holds his press conference at Downing Street.

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