Boris Johnson to announce end of social distancing and face mask rules
PM to make an announcement ahead of freedom day
Freedom day is fast approaching unless it gets changed, that is, and PM Boris Johnson is set to outline his plan in a press conference today. It is believed this address will cover face masks, social distancing, care-home visits, and cautionary tales.
Last month, step four of the PM's plan was delayed because of rising cases and the prevalence of the Delta variant, which originated in India. Johnson was heavily criticised for his methods of dealing with the Delta variant, which eventually led to restrictions being extended. But the Hancock variant also ran riot during this time, which led to Sajid Javid being appointed as the new health secretary.
The results of the government's reviews into vaccine certification and the future of social distancing are also to be published. But Johnson will also warn that it is now up to us to guide our own lives, which, judging by some reactions, will be difficult. Scientists have said that masks should still be worn despite restrictions lifting. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Environment Secretary George Eustice have insisted they will remove their masks the moment restrictions are lifted.
Remember when we were watching with horror the news coming from Northern Italy last year? Look where 🇬🇧 is now, just as our illustrious leader is about to announce “freedom day”. 😕 pic.twitter.com/5Lgodmk1pu
— John E. Tidball. Old Bristolian. Old Mancunian (@Catinatree3) July 5, 2021
Ahead of this announcement, Johnson said the following:
"Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap. Today we will set out how we can restore people's freedoms when we reach step 4.
"But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks.
"As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise judgement when going about our lives."
A couple of weeks ago they delayed "freedom day" until July 19th because there were 7,000 new infections per day.
Now there are over 20,000 new cases per day it would be crazy to delay "freedom day" beyond July 19th.
Yes folks that's UK Gvmnt mentality.
— Jason J Hunter (Not a noble Lord) (@JJHTweets) July 1, 2021
In reply, Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said:
"We are all desperate to move on from restrictions but with infections continuing to rise steeply thanks to the Delta variant, Boris Johnson needs to outline the measures he will introduce such as ventilation support for buildings and sick pay for isolation to push cases down.
"Letting cases rise with no action means further pressure on the NHS, more sickness, disruption to education and risks a new variant emerging with a selection advantage.
"So far 'learning to live with the virus' had been no more than a ministerial slogan.
"Now we know this is the government's strategy, when Sajid Javid addresses the Commons he must explain what level of mortality and cases of long-COVID he considers acceptable.
"And what support will be in place for the most deprived areas where cases are highest and vaccination rates lowest."