The government plans to advance the fourth stage of its roadmap to lift the lockdown on July 19, when Boris Johnson wants to move away from ministerial edicts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the British will be encouraged to use their personal judgment on the risks of infection – with the Prime Minister keen to see a new way of living with the virus.
However, despite the impending removal of vast swathes of COVID restrictions, Mr Johnson urged people not to be ‘demob happy’ and to think it was ‘the end of COVID’.
“This is very far from the end of the fight against this virus,” the Prime Minister said Monday at a press conference in Downing Street, suggesting that there could be up to 50,000 cases of coronavirus daily by July 19.
A final decision on whether to continue with the final phase of the roadmap will be made within a week, after a review of the latest data and whether the government’s tests for removing restrictions are met.
If the fourth stage takes place on July 19, it will see:
• No more limits on social contacts to allow people to gather in groups of any size
• The removal of the “one meter plus” rule in almost all contexts, except for specific locations such as airports
• All remaining businesses, including nightclubs, can reopen
• No capacity limit for large-scale events, such as sports matches, theater performances or concerts
• No more legal obligation to wear face masks in shops or on public transport
• The government will no longer force people to work from home
• No more limits on the number of people who can visit residents of nursing homes
The government has also chosen not to mandate the use of national COVID “passports” so that people can prove their vaccination or test status when frequenting pubs, bars and restaurants or other places.
There will be further announcements this week on whether schools and colleges will continue to have to ‘bubble’ students, as well as whether people with a double bite will still need to self-isolate afterward. contact with an infected person or upon their return from a country on the “Amber List”.
However, as part of maintaining these rules, it will still be a legal obligation to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, the one-meter-plus rule will continue in specific places such as airports to prevent passengers from different destinations to mix, and infection control measures will remain in place in nursing homes.
Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on Monday that the pandemic was “far from over” and the country should “sadly come to terms with more deaths”.
But he said we need to “balance the risk” of the virus with the impact of restrictions on people’s lives and livelihoods, highlighting the “continued effectiveness” of the COVID vaccine rollout.
“We have to be honest with ourselves that if we cannot reopen our company in the next few weeks – when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays – then we must ask ourselves” when can we get back to normal? ‘ », Added the Prime Minister.
Last month, Mr Johnson delayed the final lifting of the lockdown restrictions for four weeks following an increase in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Downing Street said the delay allowed the vaccine rollout to save thousands more lives by injecting millions more people.
The deployment of the vaccine will now be further accelerated by reducing the interval between the two doses from 12 weeks to eight for those under 40.
That will mean that every adult should have had the chance to be passed by by mid-September, according to the prime minister.