England cheers Covid restrictions end

Revelers flocked to clubs in the first minutes of the so called Freedom Day

Photo: EPA

Britain, despite some warnings, lifted on Monday most restrictions in what some have dubbed "Freedom Day", news wires reported. Epidemiologists are generally sceptical that lifting restrictions is the right thing to do, but many young British people have had enough of more than 1 1/2 years of lockdowns, and said they long for a party.

"I have not been allowed to dance for like what seems like forever," said Georgia Pike, 31, at the Oval Space in Hackney, east London. "I want to dance, I want to hear live music, I want the vibe of being at a gig, of being around other people." Clubbers flocked to one of the first rule-free live music events since the pandemic began last year, dancing through the night and rejoicing in human interaction.

Though, there was also clear concern about a wave of new cases - more than 50,000 per day across the UK. "I am so excited - but it's mixed with the sense of impending doom," said Gary Cartmill, 26, outside the "00:01" event which was organised to celebrate the return of live music. Inside the club, revellers, some with pints in their hands, some simply elated by the music, danced through the night. Many hugged, some kissed, few wore masks.

After rushing to vaccinate its population faster than almost all other European countries, Boris Johnson's government is betting that England can reopen as fully vaccinated people are less likely to get seriously ill with Covid-19.

British society appears split on the restrictions: some want tough rules to continue as they fear the virus will keep killing people, but others have chafed at the most onerous restrictions in peacetime history. Business owners - including nightclubs, travel companies and the hospitality industry - have been desperate to reopen the economy while many students, young people and parents have quietly disregarded many of the most onerous rules.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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