Johnson announces Covid restriction lifting on July 19 details


Boris Johnson’s Covid announcement lockdown updates. Mask law and one-metre rule set to end in England.

The prime minister has just finished his press conference, where he gave further details of plans for the final step of England’s roadmap out of lockdown.

What will change from step four of England’s roadmap?

The prime minister has just finished his press conference, where he gave further details of plans for the final step of England’s roadmap out of lockdown.

This is due to take place on 19 July – although this will only be confirmed on 12 July.

From step four:

  • Face masks will no longer be legally required
  • The 1m-plus social distancing rule will end
  • All legal restrictions on numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be removed
  • All businesses, including nightclubs, can reopen
  • Table service rules at bars and restaurants and venue check-in requirements will be scrapped
  • The limit on the number of named visitors to care homes will be lifted
  • Capacity limits for concerts, theatres and sports events will also be removed
  • Guidance instructing people to work from home where possible will be lifted
  • Council powers to enforce rules will expire

Results from a Labour Heartlands survey on face masks run during the government announcement on the lifting of restrictions showed 63% of our readers wanted to keep face mask restrictions in place.

Teaching unions express concern about lifting anti-Covid measures in schools

Teaching unions expressed immediate concern about plans to lift safety measures, including bubbles in schools, accusing the government of “neglectful and reckless decision-making”.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said schools and colleges were doing everything they could to keep young people and the wider community safe, adding:

We must seriously question the wisdom of the government’s decision to take away so many safety measures.

These mitigations are being removed at a time when cases are rising, school outbreaks are at the highest level all year and rising sharply, and children remain unvaccinated and at risk of transmitting the virus and suffering long Covid themselves.

Bousted also called on the government to publish the results of its trials on daily contact testing as an alternative to self-isolation before changing the system.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, added:

To maintain public confidence the government need to explain clearly to parents and schools alike why arrangements we were told were critical to maintaining pupil safety until now, are no longer needed going forward, despite the soaring infection rates in schools.

No school wants to see restrictions in place any longer than they have to be, but we must ensure that in relaxing rules now we do not create further longer term disruption in the months to come.

Starmer: Reckless to ease all restrictions when cases going up

Labour leader Keir Starmer has been reacting to the PM’s press conference.

He says today’s announcement is “all about headlines, not public health”, and the PM is acting for “party management” reasons and not in the public interest.

“We need a proper plan,” he says, because “to throw off all protections at the same time when the infection rate is going up is reckless”.

Asked what he would do differently, Starmer says he would continue with mask-wearing, and focus on improving ventilation and paying people a proper amount when they need to isolate.

The PM has not seen the data, he adds, and as a result of that he is “describing what he wants to see” and not “what he can see”.

Caroline Lucas criticises the ending of mask requirements

Meanwhile, in the Commons, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas questions the ending of the requirement for people in England to wear masks, since it’s against the law to endanger others by driving at 100mph down the motorway.

“Why, when other health and safety measures aren’t left to individuals to decide, he thinks that’s an appropriate approach to Covid?” she says in the Commons.

“Failing to mandate mask-wearing in stuffy, crowded places like public transport – where people are often pressed together for longer than 15 minutes – risks high costs.

“Allowing people to choose whether or not to put others at risk is both reckless and unfair.”

SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford expressed her surprise at the announcement

In the Commons, the SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford expressed her surprise at the announcement that all measures will be removed, citing the Delta variant and half of the population not being vaccinated.

She suggested Javid said Covid is like flu and that we should learn to live with Covid.

An irate Javid responded “her points degenerated into political point-scoring” and said she should know better than to engage in scaremongering.

Javid also highlighted that Scotland has the highest case rate is higher in the UK and denies saying Covid is similar to flu.

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