UK may end mask mandate on ‘Freedom Day’

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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says, wearing of face coverings will become a personal choice and lifting of lockdown restrictions looked positive, reports Asian Lite News

The wearing of face coverings in England will become a personal choice and the data that will determine if lockdown restrictions can be lifted this month was looking “very positive”, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said.

“It will be a different period where we as private citizens make these judgments rather than the government telling you what to do,” Jenrick told Sky News.

Legal lockdown restrictions are due to be removed on July 19 under the government’s roadmap and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out details about the final stage of easing in England in the coming days, Jenrick said.

Asked if he would stop wearing a face mask if permitted, he said: “I will. I don’t particularly want to wear a mask, I don’t think a lot of people enjoy doing it, we will be moving into a phase though where these will be matters of personal choice.”

Johnson had hoped to remove final restrictions in June but his plan was scuppered by rising coronavirus cases, driven largely by the more transmissible Delta variant.

He said last week that although Britain’s vaccination programme had broken the link between infection and deaths, some precautions might have to remain beyond July 19.

Jenrick on Sunday said the data was looking “very positive”.

“It does seem as if we can now move forward and move to a much more permissive regime where we move away from many of those restrictions that have been so difficult for us. We’re going to have to ensure that every adult gets double vaccinated because that is the key to keeping the virus under control as we move into the autumn and the winter,” he said.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on June 28 that most coronavirus restrictions in the UK will come to an end on July 19. Jenrick reiterated Johnson’s words stating that the data that is all set to decide if final lockdown restrictions in the UK can be lifted on July 19 is looking “very positive”, thanks to the success of the vaccination program. Many in the UK have started to dub July 19 as “Freedom Day”

“The data that we’re seeing that the Prime Minister is reviewing at the moment ahead of his decision point on the roadmap looks very positive,” said Jenrick.

The British Medical Association (BMA) however suggested that some coronavirus measures like wearing masks and ensuring proper ventilation should be carried on even after July 19. BMA’s words of caution comes amidst a spike in the daily tally of cases in the UK, which reported 27,125 cases on Friday.

“This data coupled with some increases in hospitalisation suggests that it would be quite wrong from a public health interest to on July 19 remove all restrictions … or to give the public the expectation that we will have a pre-Covid society where no one has to take any measures to prevent spread,” Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said on Saturday.

Johnson had plans to lift restrictions in June but a raging Delta variant caused him to relent. He told reporters last week that vaccination has severed the link between infections and death but cautioned that some restrictions might continue even after July 19.

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