Rules on mask-wearing, social distancing and crowd limits will all be changed from July 19 – with England’s seven-month lockdown all but ending in two weeks’ time.
During a press conference on Monday evening (July 5), Boris Johnson confirmed that most of the remaining national COVID measures would be removed later this month – with evidence suggesting the vaccination programme has weakened the link between case numbers and hospitalisations.
From July 19, people will not be legally obliged to wear face coverings, but are advised to do so in busy spaces such as public transport.
The ‘1m +’ distancing guidance is also being removed.
Restaurant/pub customers will no longer have to sign in via QR codes and bar service will resume.
Large events – including festivals – will be permitted to return in full, whilst the nightlife sector will also reopen.
Plans for changing isolation measures for fully vaccinated people and children will be discussed by the Health Secretary tomorrow (July 6), whilst the Transport Minister is due to give an update on international travel rules later this week.
A final decision on these measures is set to be made on July 12.
The PM admitted the pandemic was “far from over”, but that if “we couldn’t open up in the coming weeks, when could we?”
COVID restrictions – including social distancing and face coverings – were originally due to be lifted back in June.
However, a fresh surge in cases – attributed to the more infectious Delta strain of COVID-19 – forced the government to push back the final step on their roadmap out of lockdown.
On June 14, Johnson said a delay was necessary so that the NHS had extra time to “give crucial jabs into the arms [of those] who need them.”
The PM said the vaccine rollout has since proven “successful”, and the gap between first and second jabs for the under-40s will soon be shortened from 12 weeks to eight.
The 7-day moving average for daily COVID cases in the UK is more than 24,000 – the highest since January.
The death rate, however, has remained low.
Daily deaths from COVID-19 are currently averaging 17 per day, compared to 1,100 in the first month of 2021.