Covid restrictions set to lift next week
The lifting of restrictions in England will go ahead on 19 July as planned, Boris Johnson has confirmed.
Speaking at a government press conference on Monday evening, the Prime Minister said that “now is the right moment” to end the current restrictions, despite concerns over a third wave.
The success of the vaccine rollout so far means that we can lift restrictions next week as planned, he said.
But, Johnson said, it is “absolutely vital that we proceed with caution”.
Some people have expressed concerns about lifting the remaining restrictions all in one go as the number of cases is increasing significantly due to the Delta variant.
However, the Prime Minister has defended the move, saying that now is the optimum time to lift the restrictions. Mr Johnson argued that delaying the reopening would mean lifting restrictions as the weather begins to get colder, giving the virus “greater advantage”.
He also said that this would be the best time to lift restrictions because children not being in school would provide a “natural firebreak”.
He said: “I can’t say it powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over. This disease continues to carry risks for you and your family.
“We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday, July 19 to life as it was before Covid.
“We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport.”
The Prime Minister stressed that, although they will not be required by law, people should continue to wear face-masks in confined spaces and when mixing with other people indoors.
The legal requirements around social distancing will be dropped, meaning the rule of six and the 1m+ rule will no longer apply.
The plan to allow nightclubs to reopen will go ahead, though many will require proof of vaccination or a negative test.
Johnson urged nightclubs to use the NHS Covid pass to decide whether or not to let people in.
There was little detail on whether changes to the UK’s travel policy will change.