A senior minister has suggested the government could reinstate Covid restrictions in England if the spread of the virus becomes “unacceptable.” The comment comes despite the Prime Minister repeatedly stating he wanted the removal of legal measures on 19 July to be “irreversible”.
The government’s solicitor general Tory MP Lucy Frazer said the government was well aware that “we will see infections rise” this summer. The reason why restrictions are being taken away is because of the vaccination programme, which will protect people when those infections do rise.”
Ms Frazer added:
“Of course, if we get into a situation where it is unacceptable and we do need to put back further restrictions, then that of course is something we will need to look at.”
Defending the government’s decision to lift remaining curbs from Monday, Ms Frazer said:
“We’ve had a really tough time, we’re still asking people to take responsibility and we do need to ask ourselves, if we don’t open up now, when will we be able to open up?”
Ministers are facing growing criticism over “confused” guidance given to shoppers, businesses and commuters over the wearing of masks from 19 July. The government said it “expects” people in England to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces, despite ditching the legal requirements.
England’s regional mayors have urged ministers to keep masks compulsory across all public transport services to avoid a “ridiculous mismatch” of rules from the beginning of next week.