PM to reveal final step of roadmap plan to ‘restore people’s freedoms’ on Monday
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 04/07/2021
Boris Johnson will reveal how he plans to “restore people’s freedoms” in England at a news conference on Monday, ahead of the final stage of his roadmap out of lockdown.
Downing Street said the prime minister wants to give the public and businesses more time to prepare for the easing of restrictions on 19 July, ahead of a formal announcement next week.
Step four of the prime minister’s COVID-19 roadmap was delayed by a month in June, as case numbers began to rise again, giving every adult in England the chance to get vaccinated.
The results of the government’s reviews into vaccine certification and the future of social distancing will also be published.
Mr Johnson will also set out the next steps around face coverings, working from home and the one metre-plus rule, as well as the latest advice on care home visits.
However, he will also warn that Britons will have to learn to live with COVID and cases will continue to rise.
The government added 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 12 July, a week before the proposed date to ease final restrictions.
Speaking ahead of his latest announcement, Mr Johnson said: “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.
“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.”
In response, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “We are all desperate to move on from restrictions but with infections continuing to rise steeply thanks to the Delta variant, Boris Johnson needs to outline the measures he will introduce such as ventilation support for building and sick pay for isolation to push cases down.
“Letting cases rise with no action means further pressure on the NHS, more sickness, disruption to education and risks a new variant emerging with a selection advantage.
“So far ‘learning to live with the virus’ had been no more than a ministerial slogan.
“Now we know this is the government’s strategy, when Sajid Javid (the health secretary) addresses the Commons he must explain what level of mortality and cases of long-COVID he considers acceptable.
“And what support will be in place for the most deprived areas where cases are highest and vaccination rates lowest.”
The announcement comes after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday that measures such as the wearing of face coverings will become a matter of “personal choice” after 19 July.
Mr Jenrick said the success of the UK’s vaccination programme means the government is “able to think about how we can return to normality as much as possible”.
He added: “We are not going to put the COVID-19 virus behind us forever, we’re going to have to learn to live with it.
“It does seem as if we can now move forward and move to a much more permissive regime where we move away from many of those restrictions that have been so difficult and learn to live with the virus.”
However, medical experts have been worried over plans to ditch restrictions in recent days, with high-profile doctors calling for the use of face-masks and social-distancing to remain in place.
Mr Javid will announce the plans to the Commons on Monday, following recent rebukes from speaker Lindsay Hoyle for ministers gave press statements before telling MPs.
© Sky News 2020