UK Prime Minister Johnson announces end of virus restrictions in England

UK Prime Minister Johnson announces end of virus restrictions in England

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday presented his intention to end social and economic restrictions of Covid-19 in England in two weeks, to determine whether a rapid deployment of the vaccine provides sufficient protection against the highly contagious delta variant .

Johnson has confirmed that the government aims to end the restrictive measures on July 19, with a final decision due next week. He said this step would remove formal limits on social contact, instruction to work from home and mandates to wear face masks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a Thanksgiving service on Monday to celebrate the anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service in St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Stefan Rousseau / Pool via Reuters

After imposing the most onerous behavioral restraints in British peacetime history to fight the novel coronavirus, Johnson is betting the vaccination schedule, which has weakened the link between infections and admissions to hospital, can prevent health services from being overwhelmed by a new wave of coronavirus.

According to the plans, the nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and there will be no capacity limit of the reception venues. Social distancing guidelines will be removed.

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“We have to be honest with ourselves that if we cannot reopen our company 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 can we return. to Ordinary? ” Johnson said at a press conference.

“We are going to move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions on how to handle the virus,” Johnson said.

Johnson sets health policy for England, but not for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Britain has suffered the seventh highest death toll in the world from Covid-19, and Johnson has been accused of being too slow to implement each of England’s three blockades.

But vaccine uptake in Britain has been strong, with 86% of adults receiving a first dose and 64% receiving two doses on Monday, government data showed.

Johnson also said people under 40 would be invited for their second injection of Covid starting 8 weeks after their first dose, rather than 12 weeks, which is in line with policy for those over 40.

Figures from Public Health England indicate that the vaccines are very effective in preventing the Delta variant leading to serious illness or hospitalization.