Boris Johnson confirms likely July 19 end to COVID rules

World Tuesday 06/July/2021 06:42 AM
By: DW
Boris Johnson confirms likely July 19 end to COVID rules
The UK has seen several strict lockdowns

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that July 19 would likely see the lifting of most restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in England.

His announcement at a press conference in Downing Street came as cases in England rise to their highest level since January. A final decision is to be taken on July 12.

The other parts of the UK — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are also planning to leave lockdowns on similar paths but more slowly.

What type of restrictions will be lifted on July 19?

The wearing of face masks will be voluntary except in hospitals and other health care settings. Transport providers can still choose to insist on masks, if they decide to, however.

Nightclubs and other businesses will be able to reopen.

There will be no more legal limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor meetings.

There will be no more 1-meter (3.3-foot) rule on social distancing.

The interval between vaccine doses for people younger than 40 will be reduced to eight weeks from 12 weeks to speed up the vaccine rollout.

People will no longer be instructed to work from home.

Fully vaccinated people will no longer have to self-isolate if they have had contact with an infected person.

Johnson, who himself suffered a serious bout of the disease, has often talked of COVID-19 as something to be conquered, but Monday's announcement seemed to suggest that society would have to learn to live with the virus.

"As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise judgment when going about our lives," Johnson said ahead of his address.

At the press conference, Johnson, however, noted that "this pandemic is far from over'' and "we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from COVID.''

The lifting of restrictions was originally planned for June 21, but Johnson was forced to delay because the highly contagious delta variant caused a resurgence of infections.