Johnson Tells Britons to Use Judgment When Covid Curbs End

Share this article....

By Andrew AtkinsonJuly 5, 2021, 3:00 AM GMT+5:30 Updated on 

  •  Prime minister to say country has to live with Covid, like flu
  •  Government hopes to fully unlock the economy on July 19

Boris Johnson is urging Britons to “exercise judgment” to protect themselves from Covid-19 as the government prepares for the final unlocking of the economy in two weeks.

The prime minister will use a press conference on Monday to say that the country must learn to live with the disease, as it does with influenza. He is expected to confirm that people will no longer be forced to wear facial coverings as he sets out the final stage of his roadmap out of lockdown for England ahead of a formal announcement next week.

The move marks a decisive shift toward handing responsibility to citizens to manage the risks after 16 months of unprecedented government intervention to bring the virus under control. However, it risks sparking a backlash from scientists who say removing virtually all restrictions when millions of people are not fully immunized could prove devastating.

The U.K. is in a race to vaccinate the population against the fast-spreading delta variant quickly enough to be able to lift social-distancing curbs and reopen more businesses on July 19. Almost 64% of U.K. adults have now had two doses of a vaccine.

Ministers are optimistic, noting that a recent surge in infections to their highest level since January has not led to commensurately more hospitalizations and deaths. On Sunday, the U.K. reported 24,248 more Covid-19 cases and 15 more deaths.

“I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks,” Johnson said in a statement. “As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from Covid and exercise judgment when going about our lives.”

The government will confirm on July 12 whether its tests for easing restrictions have been met following a review of the latest data. Announcements Monday are expected to include:

  • The results of reviews into the use of Covid-status certification
  • Decisions on scrapping the one meter-plus rule in hospitality venues and working from home guidance
  • The next steps for care home visits
  • Newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid will make a statement to Parliament.

On Sunday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed that the wearing of face masks in public spaces will be a matter of personal choice. His comments came days after the British Medical Association, which represents doctors, warned that lifting all restrictions this month could inflict serious damage on the National Health Service and the economy.

The government was due to lift remaining social distancing rules on June 21 but was forced to delay the move by four weeks when the delta strain took hold. Johnson is expected to allow nightclubs to reopen for the first time since March 2020 and drop audience limits for theater, concert and sports venues.

Article input Bloomberg

error: Content is protected !!