The future for face coverings, social distancing and working from home will be revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 5pm today
Boris Johnson will be revealing how his government plans to “restore people’s freedoms” within England at a news conference at 5pm today, ahead of the final stage of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown efforts.
Downing Street has said that the UK’s Prime Minister wants to give the public and businesses more time to prepare to ease restrictions on the 19th of July, ahead of a formal announcement next week.
The government has said that it will not know if its four tests (an effective vaccine programme, evidence the vaccines work, manageable infection rates and the low risk of variants) have been met until the 12th of July, which is just a week before the proposed date to ease the final coronavirus restrictions in the UK.
This comes after there will reportedly be no “legal compulsion” to wear face masks once the coronavirus restrictions in England are lifted, the environment secretary has said, as he said that he will be ditching his face mask when the rules are scrapped.
But on Monday morning, the UK’s Health Minister Helen Whately confirmed that the country is “on track to take that final fourth stage of the roadmap on the 19th of July”.
Helen Whately said that there will have to be ‘precautions’ for care homes
Step four of the prime minister’s COVID-19 lockdown easing roadmap was delayed by a month back in June, as case numbers had begun to rise again, giving every adult within England the chance to receive a vaccine.
In the 5pm news conference that will be at Downing Street, Boris Johnson will also set out the next steps around face coverings as well as working from home and the one-metre plus rule, and also the latest advice on care home visits in the UK.
The results of the UK government’s reviews into vaccine certification, as well as the future of social distancing within the nation will also be published.
The Prime Minister will also warn that Britons will have to learn to live with the coronavirus and that cases of infection will continue to rise in the country.
Helen Whately agreed that the reopening of society as it was before COVID-19 would lead to an increase in the rate of infection but would not estimate how many cases would this would result in.
“I don’t have a number for you, but what we do anticipate is that we will continue to see infections rise as we open up more as people are going about life more like normal,” she told Sky News.
“We expect, by the 19th of July, that will be over two-thirds of the adult population having had their second dose – so that is far more protection from COVID.”
This comes after Prime minister Boris Johnson has said it is “looking good” for the 19th of July to be the “terminus point” for England’s coronavirus restrictions, but did not rule out the prospect of further coronavirus lockdowns in the winter.
Speaking ahead of his latest announcement, Boris Johnson warned that “the pandemic is not over” despite the progression that has been made within the UK.
“Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap. Today we will set out how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach step 4,” the PM said.
“But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks.
“As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise judgement when going about our lives.”