BORIS Johnson tonight cried freedom by announcing a bonfire of Covid restrictions on July 19 – sweeping away social distancing, mandatory masks and orders to work from home.
After months of Covid rules, the bullish PM outlined a five-point plan to learn to live with the virus without lockdown.
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His blueprint will see ministers double down on the vaccine rollout, encourage people to make smart choices, toughen border controls, maintain quarantine and keep a close eye on the data.
Mr Johnson confirmed he will strip back lockdown to the bare bones of requiring people to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by test and trace.
All other legal limits will be ripped up on Freedom Day for a summer of fun after a gruelling year and a half of draconian measures.
He said thanks to the hugely successful rollout of the vaccines, it meant Britain could unlock further, rather than look back again to even more lockdown measures.
He said tonight: “As we come to the fourth step, we have to balance the risks.
“We must take a careful and balanced decision.”
In a “big bang” showering of freedoms on July 19, the PM confirmed tonight:
- Hefty fines for refusing to wear a mask indoors will be dropped as face mask laws binned – but coverings will still be recommended for crowded spaces
- All legal limits restricting social contact will be torn up, such as the rule of six or rule of 30 outside
- Work from home guidance will be dropped in favour of firms’ discretion
- Pub rules will be binned – with table service scrapped and social distancing ending
- Strict caps on care home visitors will be ditched – but PPE will stay
- ALL adults will now get their second jab after eight weeks, down from 12
- The one metre plus social distancing rule will be binned – except for ports and for people who have Covid
- It means festivals and full stadiums will finally be able to make a return after lifting all limits on mass events
- Covid certificates will be binned – but individual places can still demand them if they want
- Ministers will announce school bubble rules and holiday quarantine updates later this week
- Doubled jabbed Brits will soon escape isolation rules if they are in contact with a positive case
A final decision on whether to press ahead with lockdown lifting in two weeks will be made on July 12, but the PM said he expects to go ahead with it as planned.
He is confident Britain’s well-oiled vaccine rollout will allow ministers to swap “Government diktats” with the public’s “individual judgement”.
Today he unveiled his post-lockdown blueprint to give anxious businesses time to prepare for the grand reopening later this month.
But he warned that “the pandemic is far from over” and “we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid”.
Up to 50,000 cases a day may become reality in the weeks ahead as the virus continues to spread through those who have not had both jabs.
While vaccines have weakened the link between cases and deaths, top boffin Chris Whitty warned the link was “not a completely broken one”.
Patrick Vallance also warned: “Hospitalizations, are rising and rising quite steeply in some places, and we would expect them to continue.”
But stressing now was the time to press the button, the PM said: “If we don’t go ahead now, when the summer fire break is coming up, the school holidays, all the advantages, that that should give us in fighting the virus, the question is, when will we go ahead?”