The PM said that the UK has reached a stage in the Pandemic where there is no obvious date for coming out of the pandemic. This is because cases are rising across the UK and Europe and deaths caused by the Delta Variant are also on the rise. Cases in the UK are rising rapidly to 26,000 a day.
The Prime Minister stated that these figures were foreseen by scientists when the Government studied the roadmap in January. However, he reiterated the Health Secretary’s comments that if the Government delayed unlocking the country until later in the year, the risk would be bigger with the weather being colder and the virus having the natural advantage. He explained that this is why they are proceeding with rule relaxations now.
Johnson asked that people proceed with caution and remember that the pandemic is not over as COVID-19 continues to carry risks and life cannot go back to normal too quickly on 19 July.
Most restrictions will be lifted, however, some restrictions will remain. The Prime Minister was brief on this, although he did mention the following changes:
• Face coverings will still be recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces such as public transport.
• People are also advised to return to work when they can, but the Government does not expect everyone to return too quickly.
• Advice will be issued to businesses to help them open up during the summer.
• Nightclubs and venues will be advised to make use of the COVID-19 pass which allows people to share their vaccination status.
• Border policy and quarantine for those coming from Red List Countries will still apply.
• Test, trace and isolate system will also still be in effect.
The Prime Minister also stated that guidance for clinically vulnerable people will be updated.
Lastly, he repeated his plea for everyone to get the jab, and that by next Monday two thirds of adults will have two doses and all adults will have been offered their first.
The Government has also published an advice note on the relaxed restrictions. The note explains how they plan to mitigate the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus despite the relaxation of the rules. The updated guidance goes into detail of the five measures being taken to ensure that people can live with the virus. They aim to do this by:
• Reinforcing the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take-up.
• Enabling the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
• Retaining proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
• Managing risks at the border and supporting a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
• Retaining contingency measures to prepare the UK for a worst case scenario or unexpected spike in infections.