Relying on the “individual responsibility” of each, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday, July 5, the end of the obligation to wear masks and social distance in England in two weeks. During a press conference, Boris Johnson explained that he intended to suspend most of the latest health measures related to coronavirus on July 19, a controversial decision due to the increase in cases attributed to the Delta variant. The government is expected to confirm that choice on July 12th.
While I recognize that the pandemic was “far from over” and that cases continued to increase and could reach “50,000 a day until July 19”, Boris Johnson explained that he wanted “to allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to deal with the virus”. The conservative leader, however, asked “Be careful”, indicating that he himself would wear a mask in high-traffic areas.
Charting a return to normality, Boris Johnson announced that telecommuting will no longer be recommended, that theaters and stadiums will be able to open at full capacity, and that clubs will be allowed to receive the public. There will also be no more limits on the number of attendees at a wedding or funeral or guests at home.
Reassuring British holidaymakers, Boris Johnson confirmed that he wants to end the mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers returning from a country classified as “orange” including major European tourist destinations such as France, Italy, and Spain. An announcement from the Ministry of Transport is expected this week.
Initially scheduled for June 21, the lifting of the latest restrictions had been postponed by a month to July 19, due to the outbreak of the Delta variant, which is much more contagious. This variant, first detected in India, now represents almost all new cases in the UK, where daily infections have approached 30,000 in recent days.
Labor chief Keir Starmer said, “It is not advisable to remove all protections while the infection rate continues to increase.” Public opinion seems to be on their side: 71% of the public wants masks to remain mandatory on public transport and in shops, according to a YouGov survey of 2,649 British adults. In the UK, each province decides its own timetable in the face of a health crisis. Scotland, Wales, and Ireland opted for a slower lifting of restrictions.