| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Pandemic not over, Johnson warns as England set for rule easing

Despite a spike in cases to levels unseen for months, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge caution on Monday as he is expected to confirm plans to remove nearly all the coronavirus restrictions in England from July 19.

On what he calls a ‘one-way road to freedom’, Johnson set out proposals to eliminate rules on mask-wearing and social contact and the instruction to work from home earlier this week.

The PM will announce his final decision at a news conference on Monday. In a statement released late on Sunday, he said, “The global pandemic is not over yet.”

“Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don’t undo our progress.”

Britain has implemented one of the world’s fastest vaccination programmes, with more than 87% of adults having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 66% having received two.

Nevertheless, recent weeks have seen a striking surge of infections, to rates unseen since the winter.

The government argues that even though cases have surged, deaths and hospitalisations remain far lower than before, proof that the vaccines are saving lives and it is safer to open up.

  • Reuters