Boris Johnson has confirmed that life in England will “pretty much” return to normal from July 19, after the country’s so-called freedom day was delayed.
Coronavirus restrictions were set to be lifted across the country on June 21, but rising cases due to the Delta variant meant that date was postponed by a month to allow for a higher percentage of the population to be vaccinated.
Now, the PM says that July 19 will be the “terminus date” when “we will be able, really, to return to pretty much life before Covid.”
He said that death and hospital admissions remain low, but spoke of the “big” increase in cases as the Delta variant continues to spread across the country.
"I read the story on Friday and we've got a new health secretary in post on Saturday and I think that's the right pace", says prime minister Boris Johnson.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 28, 2021
“Although there are some encouraging signs and the number of deaths remains low and the number of hospitalisations remains low – though both are going up a bit – we are seeing an increase in cases,” the Prime Minister said during a campaign visit to Batley and Spen.
“So we think it’s sensible to stick to our plan to have a cautious but irreversible approach, use the next three weeks or so really to complete as much as we can of that vaccine rollout – another five million jabs we can get into people’s arms by July 19.
“And then with every day that goes by it’s clearer to me and all our scientific advisers that we’re very likely to be in a position on July 19 to say that really is the terminus and we can go back to life as it was before Covid as far as possible.”
The positive update comes ahead of new Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s address to the Commons later today, where he will brief MPs on when Covid measures will be lifted in England.
It’s yet to be revealed how July 19 will impact the full return of live music, but figures published last week confirmed that just 28 people who attended pilot events researching the impact of large-scale gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic tested positive for the virus.
That’s according to new data released by scientists working for the UK government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), which was commissioned in February to help determine the roadmap out of lockdown restrictions. This is in addition to initial results first shared last month.
It followed industry figures criticising the government for failing to publish the full results of more recent COVID event pilots, such as Download Festival and Ascot, or providing festivals with insurance, which would help get live entertainment back on its feet safely.