Freedom Day Begins For All But Three Parts Of UK
No limits on meeting, no legal requirement to wear face masks, nightclubs reopened, and COVID-19 cases still rising: welcome to so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
After more than a year of social distancing being enforced in shops, bars and public transport, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was ‘right moment’ to drop all restrictions and let people get back to normal life. It’s a decision that’s been praised by anti-lockdown campaigners, despite 1,200 scientists across the globe describing it as a ‘threat to the world’.
‘If we don’t do it now we’ve got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it?’ Johnson asked in a recent Twitter video, in which he asked for caution after originally trying to bypass self-isolation, having been contacted by NHS Test and Trace along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, after coming into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for the virus on Saturday, July 17. However, it’s not Freedom Day in all parts of the UK.
While acknowledging COVID-19 would have the ‘advantage of the cold weather’ in autumn and winter, which saw everywhere in the UK locked down earlier this year, Johnson said, ‘We’ve got to do it cautiously. We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.’
‘There is no doubt at all that the massive vaccination programme has very severely weakened the link between infection and hospitalisation, and between infection and serious illness and death. That is the vital thing. So please, please, please be cautious. Go forward into the next step with all the right prudence and respect for other people.’
‘Cases in Scotland are falling, but still too high. To talk of tomorrow, as ‘freedom day’ (England only remember) is not sensible IMO, given current situation. Vaccines going well and do offer route through – but as we vaccinate, we must ease up gradually,’ First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote alongside a chart of England’s rocketing case numbers.
‘Freedom Day will be like when Maggie did the poll tax experiment on Scotland, except this is Boris doing it to England. And instead of it being about the poll tax, Boris is wanting to see how many people die and if people are alright with it,’ Scottish comedian Limmy tweeted.
Professor Neil Ferguson, who helped shaped Britain’s coronavirus strategy, said the loosening of all restrictions could bring on 100,000 cases and 1,000 hospitalisations per day. ‘The real question is do we get to double that – or even higher,’ he told Andrew Marr.
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