It will be ‘Freedom Day’: the British government confirmed, Monday July 12, the lifting of almost all restrictions related to Covid-19 on July 19 in England, while calling for caution in the face of a new outbreak of contaminations.
Despite the very strong progression of the Delta variant, highly contagious and now dominant in the United Kingdom, one of the most affected European countries with more than 128,000 deaths, the executive decided to take the next step of deconfinement this week. next. This was initially scheduled for June 21, but had been postponed to allow it to gain the upper hand in the race between the disease and the mass vaccination of the population.
‘We will respect our plan to lift legal restrictions,’ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a press conference. Eager to ‘restore freedoms’, he said it was the ‘right time’ to appeal for individual responsibility rather than imposing rules.
Summer and school holidays offer an opportune time, he detailed: waiting longer, until autumn or even winter for example, could give the virus an advantage, at the risk of not being able to reopen anything. .
Reopening of nightclubs
As of next week, social distancing and wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory – although the latter remains recommended in closed and busy public places, such as public transport.
Teleworking will no longer be the norm, performance halls and stadiums will reopen at full capacity, discotheques will once again be able to accommodate the public, bar service will again be possible in pubs and the number of people allowed to assemble will no longer be possible. will be more limited.
‘We are convinced that it is time for our country to return to normal life’, the Minister of Health, Sajid Javid, had said shortly before to the deputies. ‘There will never be a perfect time to take this step, because we simply cannot eradicate this virus,’ he stressed.
According to the executive, this great relaxation is made possible thanks to the success of the vaccination campaign, which made it possible to break the link between illness, hospitalizations and death, so that the public health system can cope.
However, it raises serious concerns in part of the scientific community, while the country faces 30,000 daily contaminations, which could even increase to 100,000 during the summer, according to the government.
The government’s decision to allow more than 60,000 football fans to attend Sunday’s Euro final between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium in London also raised concerns about its impact in terms of contamination.
A first dose of anti-Covid vaccine has already been administered to more than 87% of adults, and two doses to 66% of them, which is the goal the government had set for July 19. By next week, all adults will have been offered a dose, although the vaccination campaign shows signs of shortness of breath, especially in young adults.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, Boris Johnson said it was ‘absolutely vital’ to exercise caution. ‘This pandemic is not over,’ he warned. ‘This disease, the coronavirus, continues to pose risks to you and your family. We cannot instantly return, on Monday July 19, to life as it was before the Covid. ‘
Thus, the conservative leader called on nightclubs and other high-traffic places to use the vaccine passport available in an application of the health system.