British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set up a plan to end England’s social and economic COVID-19 restrictions within two weeks to test whether the rapid introduction of a vaccine can provide adequate protection against the highly contagious variant of Delta Infringe.
Johnson confirmed that the government’s goal is to end restrictive measures on July 19, and a final decision will be made next week. He said this step would remove formal restrictions on social contact, instructions for working from home, and the requirement to wear masks.
After imposing the strictest restrictions on the United Kingdom’s peacetime fight against the new coronavirus, Johnson bet that the vaccination plan would weaken the link between infection and hospitalization and prevent health services from being overwhelmed by the new wave of COVID-19.
The number of confirmed cases has soared from about 2,000 a day earlier this year to 25,000 a day in the past week. But the death toll is generally stable, less than 20 people per day.
According to the plan, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, and the capacity of reception venues will be unlimited. The social distancing criteria will be cancelled.
“We must be honest with ourselves. If we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, we will be helped by summer and school holidays. Then we must ask ourselves when we can come back normally?” Johnson on Monday Said at the press conference.
He added: “We will get rid of legal restrictions and let people make their own wise decisions on how to manage the virus.”
The Johnson government sets health policies for England, but not for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom has the seventh-largest global death toll due to COVID-19, and Johnson has been accused of slowing the implementation of the three lockdown measures in England.
But according to government data, as of Monday, the number of people vaccinated in the UK has been strong, with 86% of adults receiving the first dose and 64% of adults receiving two doses.
Data from Public Health England show that after two doses of vaccines, these vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illnesses or hospitalizations caused by Delta variants.
‘It’s far from the end’
Johnson also said that people under the age of 40 will be invited to have a second COVID-19 injection 8 weeks after the first injection instead of 12 weeks after the first injection, so that they will be in line with the 40-year-old and above policy.
He added that although he believes this is the best time to end the restrictions, people should still be cautious and resume containment measures if necessary.
Johnson said: “This pandemic is far from over, and it will certainly not end before the 19th.”
The prime minister added: “I don’t want people to think that this is a time to make people happy… It is still far from the end of the response to this virus.”
Earlier, the new Minister of Health Sajid Javid stated that the number of infections in the UK will rise sharply from current levels.
“It is important that we remain honest with the British people: COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and will continue to rise significantly. We can reasonably expect that by July 19, the number of daily cases will be much higher than today,” Javid told the council.
Labour Party leader Kil Starmer criticized the plan and said that some legal measures should be retained, such as requiring masks to be worn on public transportation.
“It would be reckless to simply give up all protective measures when the infection rate is rising,” he told the broadcaster.
The government’s emphasis on personal judgment has aroused the attention of scientists, who worry that if the Delta variant rages or new strains appear, hospitals and medical staff may be under pressure again.
“To let people make their own choices in this regard is actually giving the security control of these spaces to the most unknowing, least caring, and actually the coldest members of society,” said Peter Peter, former president of the British Medical Association. Inglich said the Association’s Public Health Medical Committee.
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer of England, stated that he would still wear a mask “in any situation indoors and in crowds,” or “if other people feel uncomfortable, out of common courtesy”.
He hinted that there might be tensions between the scientists and the minister, and said at the press conference: “The minister decides and the consultant provides advice.”
At the same time, a quick poll by YouGov showed that 71% of Britons believe that masks should continue to be mandatory on public transport.