Boris Johnson has promised to tear up England’s coronavirus regulations at the next stage of the road map. The so-called “freedom day” is expected on July 19, with a final go-ahead decision being taken a week earlier.
As he publicly scrapped mandatory mask-wearing and lifted social distancing requirements the Prime Minister openly admitted he is putting his trust in the public’s judgment and the protection offered by the vaccines.
At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson acknowledged the pandemic was “far from over while cases are rising fairly rapidly.” He said:
“There could be 50,000 cases detected per day by the 19th. We are seeing rising hospital admissions and we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid. In these circumstances we must take a careful and balanced decision, and there’s only one reason why we contemplate going ahead to Step 4 in circumstances where we would normally be locking down further and that’s because of the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.”
Health officials have already acknowledged that Covid cases and deaths would continue to increase but at a much lower level than before the vaccination programme, but stressed it’s now necessary to find a new way to live with the virus.
The Prime Minister added:
“We have to balance the risks. The risks of the disease which the vaccines have reduced, but very far from eliminated – and the risks of continuing with legally-enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods, on people’s physical health and their mental health.”