'Will move away from legal restrictions': UK PM Johnson confirms ending Covid measures
- The British government is set to end social and economic restrictions imposed to contain Covid-19 in England in two weeks.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed the government's plan to cease preventive measures against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from July 19, with the final decision to be taken next week. "We will move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus," Reuters quoted Johnson as saying. "We must be honest with ourselves that if we can't reopen our society in the next few weeks when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves when will we be able to return to normal?" he added.
The British government is set to end social and economic restrictions imposed to contain Covid-19 in England in two weeks, as the Prime Minister bets that the vaccination programme, which has weakened the link between infections and hospital admissions, deaths, can avoid the health services from getting overwhelmed by a new wave of the pandemic.
Under the new plans, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen without any limits on the capacity of hospitality venues. Social distancing norms will also be scrapped.
Johnson also changed the vaccine policy and said that people aged below 40 years would be invited to take their second shot eight weeks after their first dose, rather than 12 weeks. He said this is the best time to ease the Covid curbs and that containment measures will be reimposed if necessary.
"I didn't want people to feel that this is, as it were, the moment to get demob happy ... it is very far from the end of dealing with this virus," Reuters quoted Johnson as saying, adding that if another variant comes up that doesn't respond to vaccines then necessary steps will be taken.
Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer slammed the plan and said that some preventive measures are required to be imposed legally, like wearing os masks in public transport.
"Simply throwing off all protections when the infection rate is going up is reckless," Starmer said, reported Reuters.
The new policy of Johnson's government is only for England, and not for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The vaccination programme in Britain has recorded to be strong with 86 per cent of adults vaccinated with the first dose, while 64 per cent have received both the does, as of Monday, Reuters cited government data. Public Health England indicated that the vaccines are highly effective in preventing the Delta variant from causing severe illness, especially after both doses.