Prime Minister to provide update on England’s ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday
The Prime Minister will give England an update on ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday July 5 ahead of the planned ‘unlock’ of Covid-19 restrictions.
Boris Johnson will use a press conference to explain how he plans to ‘restore people’s freedoms’ at the final stage of his roadmap to get out of lockdown.
Downing Street has said Mr Johnson wants to give the public and businesses more time to prepare for the July 19 unlock, so he plans to make an update before his official announcement is due next week.
The government will also publish the results of its reviews on the use of so-called vaccine passports and the future of social distancing guidelines.
The confirmation from a press conference comes after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he expected life “to return to normal as far as possible” in England after the “date of late “due to the successful deployment of the vaccine in the prevention of serious disease.
The cabinet minister told the BBC the country has entered the “last stage” of coronavirus restrictions.
It was reported in the press that Mr Johnson was preparing to remove social distancing measures and drop legal requirements to wear face coverings on ‘Freedom Day’.
Officials said the prime minister will provide an update on next steps for the meter rule and more in hospitality settings, the use of masks and working from home.
In addition to posting the task force reviews, an update will also be provided on upcoming home visits, No.10 said.
Speaking ahead of his announcement, the prime minister said people should “use judgment” to protect themselves from Covid-19, a sign that the government will move from restrictions imposed by law to giving people personal choice.
“With the successful roll-out of our immunization program, we are moving cautiously on our roadmap,” said Mr Johnson.
“Today we are going to explain how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach stage 4.
“But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to increase over the coming weeks.
“As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we all need to continue to carefully manage the risks of Covid and use good judgment in our lives. “
As Mr Johnson addresses the public, Health Secretary Sajid Javid will announce the government’s plans to Parliament after House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s reprimands in recent weeks against ministers having decided to make statements to the press before making them to deputies.
The government has said it won’t know until July 12 – seven days before the target date for easing restrictions – whether its four unlock tests have been met, given the need to see the latest data.
Labor has said the government must declare how many Covid-related deaths it is prepared to accept in the face of increasing cases of the Indian strain – also known as the Delta variant – if restrictions are lifted.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “We are all desperate to pass restrictions, but with infections continuing to rise sharply thanks to the Delta variant, Boris Johnson must describe the measures he will introduce, such as ventilation support for the building and sickness pay for isolation to bring down cases.
“Letting cases increase without action means additional pressure on the NHS, more disease, disruption of education and the risk that a new variant emerges with a selection advantage.
“Until now, ‘learning to live with the virus’ was only a ministerial slogan.
“Now we know this is the government’s strategy, when Sajid Javid addresses the Commons he has to explain what level of mortality and long Covid cases he considers acceptable. And what support will be put in place for the most disadvantaged areas where cases are highest and vaccination rates lowest.
“These are important questions that ministers must now answer. “