In his early evening press conference last night, the Prime Minister announced that most Covid restrictions would be scrapped on 19th July, although confirmation of this will come on 12th July. Boris Johnson told the nation it was a case of 'now or never.' Johnson said if the government did not lift restrictions in the summer, they might not be able to lift them at all this year because of the likelihood of a worsening situation in the winter months.
While many were thrilled to hear the Prime Minister confirm measures such as the one-metre rule and wearing face masks would no longer be mandatory, the scrapping of restrictions could be short-lived. This will result in enormous numbers of people trying to make the most of their freedom while they can, despite the PM urging the nation not to get 'demob happy' when the 'big bang' end comes around.
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Concerns over Delta variant
During the press conference, Johnson did warn that, based on scientific data, cases could be as high as 50,000 per day by 19th July. This is due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, which he said meant that Covid was ‘far from over.’ Health Secretary Sajid Javid has also said this morning that cases could reach 100,000 per day at the peak of summer.
While many may be celebrating the up-and-coming scrapping of most Covid rules, scientists have now issued another stark warning. According to SAGE scientists, the rapid spread of the Delta variant means that the freedoms announced by the Prime Minister could be very short-lived and may have to be imposed again in a matter of weeks.
Members of the group have said that once all measures were dropped, cases would surge, increasing the risk of new variants. If any of the new variants were found to be a threat to immunity, it would mean a reintroduction of measures, which could go on for much longer than before.
A variety of rules are being scrapped from 19th July that could lead to a surge in cases. This includes the scrapping of the face mask rule, removing limits on the numbers of people who can mix indoors and outdoors, and the scrapping of the one-metre rule. In addition, nightclubs can open again, and festivals and events can go ahead without limits on numbers.
The nation eager to enjoy new freedoms
Many people across the nation have been anxiously awaiting ‘Freedom Day,’ with the delay on 21st June causing huge disappointment for individuals and businesses across the country.
A lot of people will be eager to celebrate their newfound freedom on 19th July. However, following the stark warnings from scientists, many will be trying to make the most of their freedom while they can, due to fears that they might only last a matter of weeks.