Despite the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak ‘definitely won’t be finished’ by July 19 and that people should not be ‘demob happy,’ Boris Johnson is halting all ‘top down’ directives and greeting the end of social distancing regulations, mask laws, and the work from home order as Britain’s ‘big bang’ Freedom Day.
The DailyMail reports that despite daily COVID cases increasing in a week to 27,000 and could even rise to 50,000, according to Johnson, this is a brave move. Johnson insisted on “balance the risks… the risks of the disease, and the risks of continuing with restrictions.”
“If we don’t go ahead now when we’ve clearly done so much with the vaccination program to break the link between infection and death.
“If we don’t go ahead now when the summer firebreak is coming up, the school holidays, all the advantages that that should give us in fighting the virus, then the question is, ”when would we go ahead?
“Particularly given the likelihood the virus will have an extra advantage in the colder months, in the autumn, and in the winter.
“So we run the risk of either opening up at a very difficult time when the virus has an edge, has an advantage in the colder months, or again putting everything off to next year so I do think it’s going to be a very balanced decision next week,” he said.
The one-meter-plus rule will be repealed, and employers will be encouraged to work from home whenever feasible. Pubs and other establishments will no longer be required to gather customer information, and they will be free to sell beverages at the bar once again.
Johnson also claimed that gathering restrictions are being phased out, and he shot down the idea of needing “Covid certificates” at pubs and restaurants, instead relying on the vaccination push to do the hard lifting in terms of public safety.
The hospitality industry and other industries that have been hit hard by the recession were overjoyed at the news.
Despite the fact that the prime minister stated that he wants to replace self-isolation with testing for everyone who has been double-jabbed and comes into touch with a positive case, he did not specify when this would happen, which is expected to be after July 19. The agreements would also include children.
Johnson also stated that an announcement on the repeal of the ‘bubble’ regulations, which have been causing havoc in schools, will be made later this week. Although London Mayor Sajid Javid hinted tonight that the change might happen this month, there have been indications that it will only take effect at the start of next term in September.
The proposal for the last step of the roadmap will be subject to final approval next Monday, however, it looks that changing the PM’s mind at this point would take something exceptional. Another 27,334 cases were reported in the UK today, up roughly a fifth from the same day last week, although fatalities remained in the single digits at nine.
In the event that the situation worsens, the administration has said that it would “keep contingency preparations for reimposing economic and social limitations at a local, regional, or national level.”
Meanwhile, despite the fact that the legislation will be repealed this month, questions have been raised over whether mask-wearing will be entirely abolished. Sadiq Khan has declined to declare if he would leave the Tube restrictions in place, while Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, has requested a reconsideration to safeguard the vulnerable. Dropping the rule, according to unions, would be “gross carelessness.”
Government sources suggested that in theory train companies and businesses could keep demanding face coverings are worn, even if the law is changed. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also suggested that the rules could continue for longer in Scotland.
There was also no proof that self-isolation for fully vaccinated people may be substituted by testing. Although it was said that bubble restrictions in schools will be eliminated, this is not likely to happen until September, when the new school year begins.
Is a reconsideration needed?
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the subcommittee on behavior, wrote on Twitter yesterday: “It is frightening to have a ‘Health’ Secretary who still believes Covid is flu, who is unconcerned about infection levels, who doesn’t realize that those who do the best for health also do the best for the economy, who wants to ditch all protections while only half of us are vaccinated.
“Above all, it’s terrifying to have a ‘Health’ Secretary who wants to make all safeguards a personal decision, when the pandemic’s central message is that “this isn’t a ‘I’ thing, it’s a ‘we’ thing.” Your actions have an impact on my health. Get your head around the notion of “us.”
“The Health Secretary did not suggest Covid was like flu,’ a spokeswoman for the Department of Health stated. We must learn to live with it and develop methods to manage with it, just like we do with flu,” he added.
Javid, who replaced disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock last weekend after he was discovered flouting lockdown with his lover, termed the health grounds for removing restrictions ‘compelling.’
Other specialists, on the other hand, believe that masks only lower infection risk a ‘little’ and that it is ‘probably the proper moment’ to abandon them.