Boris Johnson set to lift nearly all Covid restrictions from July 19 under new Freedom Day plans
BORIS Johnson will lift almost all Covid restrictions from July 19 as part of his “freedom plan” set to be published next week.
The Prime Minister yesterday gave his clearest indication yet that he will push forward with the full unlocking later this month.
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Yesterday, Mr Johnson fuelled hopes that restrictions will end on July 19 so life can “get back to what it was”.
He said: “It looks ever clearer … the speed of that vaccine rollout has broken that link between infection and mortality and that’s an amazing thing.
“That gives us the scope, we think on the 19th to go ahead, cautiously, irreversibly."
He added: “Double jabs will be a liberator. I know people are impatient for us to open up faster. Of course, I want to do that.
"We’re now in the final furlong, I really believe. We have to look very carefully at the data.
“At the moment we’re seeing a big increase in cases, but that is not translating into a big increase in serious illness and death.”
He said it is becoming clearer the jabs rollout has broken the link between infection and death.
And in joy for weary Brits tired of Covid rules, he vowed that he would reveal more within days about the rules which will stay and which ones will go.
He said: “I will be setting out in the next few days what Step 4 will look like.
“We’ll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo as possible.”
The Sun has learnt the PM’s National Economy Recovery Taskforce have discussed a “maximalist” approach lifting “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like masks and staying apart everywhere except a small list of confined places like public transport.
The PM’s roadmap to freedom set out plans to lift almost all lock down restrictions by next month, but social distancing and mask wearing was kept under review.
It's likely masks will be binned in shops and pubs, but may be kept elsewhere.
Sources on the powerful committee of ministers, top officials say the government scientists are currently on board with the move to freedom as virus rates have plummeted as jabs soar.
But masks on trains and busses remain and option – but possibly without the hefty fines to enforce the measure.
One Whitehall insider said: “The current thinking points to social distancing going and mask wearing only in a very limited number of settings like trains and the tube.
"Obviously this is all dependent on final sign off but the data is looking good and the political will is there for a proper lift off."
The work from home order is set to end, with businesses and employees to decide what they want to do going forward.
Vaccine passports are all but dead, but organisers for large events like football stadiums and large concerts may still choose to use them.
The rule of six inside and rule of 30 outside are set to go, and nightclubs will finally be allowed to reopen.
Even gloomy Chris Whitty has given the thumbs up for July 19 in major boost for Freedom Day, saying that summer is the time to relax most of the rules.
But gloomy scientists warn that some Covid rules may have to be brought back over the winter months if cases soar again.
A final decision on lifting restrictions will not be made until July 12, the week before July 19, but a full plan will be published next week to help businesses prepare.
Yesterday, 27,989 new cases were reported in the UK.
In the past week there have been 146,360 — a 72 per cent increase in seven days.
But only 22 deaths were recorded yesterday, making 114 over the past week — a ten per cent increase.
Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said that restrictions must not return in the coming months once they are eased on July 19.
He said: “Ministers are giving me every indication that I am going to be happy on July 19.
“That is great – there is nothing I would like more than to see restrictions lifted this summer so that we can all make a fresh start this autumn.
“The trouble is that I fear I won’t be happy in the autumn and winter when the health lobby pushes for further lockdowns in order to manage capacity in the NHS.”
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An extra 259 patients were admitted to hospital yesterday, with 1,735 over the past week — an 11 per cent rise.
Kings College London says most people in hospital or killed by the virus have not been vaccinated, and Covid symptoms in the UK are now “more like a bad cold”.
Prof Tim Spector said: “We may have reached the peak of Covid infections in the North West and West Midlands, where the Delta variant got an early hold.”
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