Johnson to set out lockdown phasing outEuropost
British PM Boris Johnson is set to table out later today plans for the final step in easing England's Covid-19 lockdown, including further guidance on social distancing, face coverings and working from home, news wires reported. As of 19 July most restrictions in England will be lifted with final decision due on 12 July.
Johnson is expected to say that people will learn to live with Covid as they do already with flu, meaning that hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths will continue but at a much lower level than before widespread vaccination. "As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks and exercise judgement when going about our lives," the PM said in a statement released by his office.
Data suggests that cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased, the government said, but the link to hospital admissions and deaths has been weakened by a rapid vaccination programme. "I must stress that the pandemic is not over, " Johnson added.
Britain has suffered the seventh highest global death toll from Covid-19, and Johnson has been criticised for his decisions over the timing of each of England's three lockdowns. But the take-up of vaccines in Britain has been strong, with 86% of adults receiving a first dose and 64% receiving two doses as of Sunday, according to government data.
Covid cases have also risen sharply in Britain in recent weeks, driven by the now-dominant Delta variant, and the final step of lockdown easing was delayed by four weeks to enable more people to be vaccinated. However, Public Health England figures indicate that the vaccines are highly effective in preventing the Delta variant leading to severe illness or hospital admission.