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UK: Boris Johnson to Lift Covid Restrictions On 19 July Despite Scientists’ Warnings

Tuesday, 6 July 2021-

Key Takeaways

  • In plans set to be published next week, the Prime Minister is expected to lift all Covid-19 rules amid a backlash from government scientific advisors.

  • The past week has seen the PM herald a return to normalcy, bringing an end to rules on social distancing, mask-wearing, and mass gatherings by 19 July.

  • Prof Chis Whitty (England’s chief medical advisor) and Sir Patrick Vallance (chief scientific advisor) to join Boris Johnson at the Downing Street lobby Monday evening where the PM will table the plans to lift the remaining restrictions on 19 July.

  • Meanwhile, Sajid Javid (the health secretary) will unveil the plans later in the House of Commons.

On the back of a surge in the Covid-19 cases, PM Boris Johnson is expected to press ahead with the lifting of the remaining restrictions on 19 July, even as scientific advisors warn that doing so would be reminiscent to creating “variant factories.”

In a Number 10 press briefing earlier today, the PM’s spokesperson was asked about the Dominic Cummings claim that government scientists had warned Downing Street not to go ahead with the final stage of unlocking in England. And according to the Prime Minister’s spokesperson, here is the latest from Number 10:

  • Boris Johnson has said the government has the responsibility to decide whether or not it is safe to reopen.

  • PM says the UK's proportion of the vaccinated population is only second to Malta in entire Europe.

  • Number 10 has warned that if the UK doesn’t open up now, then it might get worse doing so closer to autumn.

  • The PM to take the final decision on 12 July, when a roadmap to stage 4 unlocking will be out. Consultations are due to take place with the government's medical advisor, Prof Chris Whitty, and the chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance.

What to Be Announced in Stage 4 Unlocking Roadmap

Despite the rising cases – which are highest since January 2021 – the prime minister is expected to announce the final stage of unlocking. He says that the risk level is fairly low, given that 86% of adults in the UK have had at least a jab. Hence, the government will move to shift from using legal curbs to allowing individuals to make their own decisions.

Among the Changes to Be Announced Include:

  • Fully vaccinated adults to be allowed to travel to green-listed countries without having to self-isolate upon return to the UK.

  • Mask-wearing and social distancing to be made voluntary, except in healthcare settings.

  • Fully vaccinated people wouldn't be mandated to self-isolate in case of contact with infected persons.

  • An end to the “school bubble system” that has had positive cases quarantining at home.

  • Customers at pubs and restaurants would no longer be mandated to scan a National Health Service (NHS) QR Code.

  • Night clubs to be reopened in two weeks.

The Roadmap to Be Tabled in The House of Commons

The latest guidelines have been supported by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, who is expected to unveil the plans to the Commons later this week. Citing a compelling case for the reopening, Javid says it would be impossible to eradicate the virus, and the country has to work around it in order to cope with the disease.

Whereas he appeared to throw his weight behind the reopening plans, he conceded that the risk of new variants emerging was still high. Meanwhile, reports last week suggested that ministers were proposing plans to remove mandatory social distancing and mask-wearing, with an exception of high-risk places such as public transport. And as Britons await the 19 July reopening plans, the UK recorded 27,334 new Covid-19 cases Monday, although death rates remain relatively low.

(Written and edited by: The Decision Maker Team)


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