July 26, 2021

Despite Delta variant, Johnson government wants to lift most health restrictions in England

The Delta variant? Not even afraid … British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed, Monday July 5, that on July 19, all legal restrictions still in force in England should be lifted (Scotland, Northern Ireland and the of Wales follow their own health strategy). Introduced in the summer of 2020, wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory in public transport or in stores. The rule of social distancing of at least one meter will disappear: restaurants, bars, theaters, cinema will be able to reopen their doors to their maximum level.

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Nightclubs will be able to welcome customers again, and large gatherings are re-authorized. And too bad if 27,334 positive cases for the coronavirus – now more than 90% of cases of the Delta variant – have still been recorded over the last twenty-four hours in the country, an increase of 53.2% over seven days. “We will have perhaps 50,000 daily cases by July 19, hospitalizations will increase and we have to get used to the idea that there will also unfortunately be more deaths”, Mr Johnson admitted, at a press conference from Downing Street. “But by July 19, all adults will have been offered a first dose of vaccine, and two-thirds will have had their two doses,” added the Prime Minister, specifying all the same that the « Freedom Day » will not be definitively confirmed until July 12.

“Hospitalizations remain low”

“Thanks to vaccines, the link between infections, hospitalizations and death has been weakened, without being completely broken”, said Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to Downing Street, to justify the government’s decision to “Living with the virus”. “Everyone will now be able to exercise their own judgment about wearing a mask”, added the Prime Minister, specifying that for his part « [il] will wear it again in interiors full of people ”. The obligation to isolate themselves in the event of a test will still be maintained, as will the red list of destinations for which travelers, on their return, will have to isolate themselves for ten days in “quarantine hotels”.

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The United Kingdom is however experiencing a third pandemic wave: “One in 210 people has the coronavirus right now in England”, acknowledged Patrick Vallance, stating that “ hospitalizations are increasing but remain low ”, with vaccines that are at least 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death (even in the case of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine). Certainly, but what about the risks of long Covid, people still not fully vaccinated, while vaccine resistance persists especially in London (in the district of Brent, for example, barely 40% of adults are completely protected)?

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