British PM Announces England To Lift Lockdown Measures

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that England’s authorities had developed a plan to lift the remaining COVID-19 restrictions despite warnings from experts about increasing Delta variant cases.

According to epidemiology and virology specialists, Mr. Johnson’s move is premature.

However, the prime minister said that England could consider easing coronavirus measures rather than tightening them due to its vaccination rollout’s “continued effectiveness.” At a press conference, he said: “I want to stress from the outset that this pandemic is far from over. It certainly won’t be over by [July] the 19th.”

“We’re seeing cases rise fairly rapidly,” Johnson added, stating that there could be 50,000 infections detected per day by that date with rising hospital admissions and deaths.

The prime minister said COVID-19 rules’ lifting, dubbed “Freedom Day,” focuses on personal responsibility instead of legal restrictions. That means laws on mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing measures, ban on mass outdoor events, widespread domestic use for vaccine passports, QR scanning to enter venues and remote work instructions would be rescinded, he explained.

However, the final decision would be made on July 12 after considering the data, Mr. Johnson added.

“I do not want people to get de-mob happy. This is still far from over,” he went on. But he stated that it was convenient to reopen during the summer and school holidays, adding: “If we can’t open in the next few weeks… then when can we?”

Experts predicted that the number of COVID-19 cases would increase if the measures are lifted or relaxed.

But authorities believe that the UK inoculation program has broken the link between infections, hospitalizations, and death. According to official data, around 86% of the UK’s adult population have received the first COVID-19 shot, and more than 63% of people have gotten a second dose.

Meanwhile, concern grows among healthcare experts over the impact of easing restrictions on pandemic measures as the new wave continues.

Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, said the government’s decision to lift the lockdown was not surprising. She said that the unlocking would put significant pressure on hospitals again and expose many more people to the “long COVID.”

Ms. Gurdasani also described Ms. Johnson plan as alarming and hugely unethical, saying: “This is not the flu.”