LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson must confirm on Monday that all other lock restrictions in England will be lifted in a week, while urging people to remain cautious amid the resurgence of the coronavirus.
Johnson is expected to tell a news conference that legal rules on social distancing and wearing masks will be repealed in England on July 19. However, given the sharp rise in new cases, he is likely to downplay the talk of Freedom Day. ”
The United Kingdom has generally seen an increase in infections in recent weeks as a result of the delta variant. Daily levels of infection reach over 30,000, the highest levels since January. Most infections have largely occurred in younger people, many of whom have not yet received the first dose of the vaccine.
Although the government has warned that the number of daily cases will increase further, reaching 100,000 at some point this summer, it is pushing for unlocking due to the rapid release of vaccines. As of Sunday, 69% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 52% had two.
The government hopes the spread of the vaccine has severely disrupted the link between infections and those in need of hospitalization. However, both the number of people in need of hospitalization and the number of people dying from COVID-19 have been increasing in recent days, although not at the same rate as infections.
Still, fears of a rapid increase in cases have put pressure on Johnson to take a more cautious approach to the latest unlock. For example, he is expected to recommend that people continue to wear face masks indoors, such as on public transport and in shops.
Public health officials and scientists have expressed concern that masks and social distancing in general can be dangerous.
Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of a group advising the government on new and emerging respiratory viruses, said it was vital to maintain some safeguards, such as wearing facial coverings.
“I really don’t understand why people are reluctant to wear facials, it’s very clear that they are really reducing the transmission,” he told BBC radio. “Vaccines are fantastic, but you have to give them time to work, and in the meantime, following all the measures we’ve learned to reduce transmission is really vital to me.”
The British government, which imposed one of the longest blockades in the world, lifted restrictions on Britain in a series of steps that began with the rebuilding of schools in March. The fourth and final phase was postponed last month to allow time for more people to be vaccinated amid the rapid spread of the delta variant, which was first discovered in India.
Other parts of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – follow their own, largely similar, off-road maps.
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