Boris Johnson confirms England's Covid-19 'Freedom Day'

Daniel Faitaua
Source: 1News

Social distancing will be scrapped and face masks will no longer be legally required in England in the Government's final easing of lockdown on July 19.

From Downing Street, Boris Johnson unveiled plans for England’s long awaited "Freedom Day" after 15 months of repeated lockdowns and harsh restrictions.

"We have to balance the risks of the disease, which the vaccines have reduced but very far from eliminated, and the risks of continuing with legally-enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods, on people’s health and mental health," the British Prime Minister said.

"And we must be honest with ourselves," he added.

"If we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves: When will we be able to return to normal?"

Johnson said vaccines are breaking the link, but he expects cases and hospital admissions to keep rising.

It comes as plenty of scientists across the UK warn that the Government’s removal of all Covid-19 restrictions in two weeks time is like building new "variant factories" at a very fast rate as the Delta variant rises again in some communities.

"For those who say we have to delay again, the alternative to that is to reopen in winter when the virus will have an advantage or not all this year," the Prime Minister responded.

Hospital admissions are nearly 10 times less than mid-December when daily cases were at similar levels.

Johnson set out a five point plan for the nation to live with Covid-19. He stressed, though, that a final decision on July 19 has not yet been made, and he will announce if it has next week.

England's five-point plan

  • No more mandatory masks
  • No more social distancing
  • Stadiums and festivals back to full capacity
  • No legal limits indoors/outdoors
  • NHS Covid test and trace to continue after Freedom Day