Boris Johnson declares it's time to live with Covid

Freedom is in YOUR hands: As Boris Johnson prepares to unveil July 19 blueprint for ending lockdown curbs, he declares it’s time to live with Covid as we do flu… and let Britons use their own judgment

  • Boris Johnson will today declare that it is time to restore personal freedoms 
  • The one-metre plus edict and the work from home order will be dropped
  • Under new rules pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details
  • Cabinet’s Covid committee will meet today to finalise the plans for the final step

Boris Johnson is to declare it is time to restore personal freedoms and argue that we must learn to live with Covid as we do with flu.

Confirming a bonfire of virus rules and restrictions on July 19, he will say individuals will again be able to judge the risks for themselves.

The one-metre plus edict and the work from home order will be dropped, with mask wearing no longer mandatory.

Pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details and will again be able to serve drinks at the bar.

The Prime Minister said last night: ‘Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap.

Boris Johnson will today declare it is time to restore personal freedoms and argue that we must learn to live with Covid as we do with flu


Under the new rules, working from home  (left) will be dropped and ministers could sign off on quarantine-free holidays (passengers at Heathrow Airport, right)

‘We will set out how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach step four. But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks.

‘As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage

the risks from Covid and exercise judgement when going about our lives.’

The Cabinet’s Covid committee will meet today to finalise the plans for the final step of the roadmap out of lockdown to give businesses and the public time to prepare.

Mr Johnson will set out the details at a press conference this evening at the same time as they are announced to MPs in the Commons by Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Next steps on the one metre-plus rule, face coverings, and working from home will be presented, alongside the findings of reviews of social distancing and Covid passports. An update will also be provided on care home visits.

Ministers will give the final green light for the changes next Monday after reviewing the latest coronavirus figures before they come into effect a week later on July 19. In other developments:

  • The UK recorded another 24,248 cases of Covid and a further 15 deaths;
  • The Queen has awarded the George Cross to the NHS for seven decades of public service and the battle against the virus;
  • Children have missed almost a billion days of school since the start of the pandemic, analysis by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank found;
  • Ministers could sign off on quarantine-free holidays in amber countries for double-jabbed travellers this week – but a source said calls for this to come into force from July 19 were ‘ambitious’;
  • Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said he would wear a mask in certain situations ‘indefinitely’ even after the rules are relaxed;
  • Mr Javid has reportedly blocked former Test and Trace boss Dido Harding from becoming the next chief executive of NHS England. Downing Street said Mr Johnson would reiterate that Covid will become a virus that we learn to live with ‘as we already do with flu’.

‘This means that hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths from Covid will continue, albeit at a much lower level than before the vaccination programme,’ a spokesman said.

Step four of the roadmap had been due to happen on June 21, but was delayed by four weeks so more people could be vaccinated. Almost two thirds of adults have now received both doses.


Pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details and will again be able to serve drinks at the bar and masks will no longer be mandatory

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick yesterday said that Britain’s coronavirus data was looking ‘very promising’. 

The Communities Secretary pledged that in the next phase the ‘state won’t be telling you what to do’, with individuals exercising their own judgment on wearing masks.

The onus instead will be on ensuring that ‘every adult gets fully vaccinated’ to guard against rising hospital admissions and deaths, he told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday. 

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said the link between infections, hospital admissions and deaths had been ‘severely weakened’.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that jabs were affording ‘over 90 per cent protection against severe disease’, which means fewer sufferers need hospital treatment.

London mayor Sadiq Khan last night did not rule out still making it mandatory for passengers to wear face masks on public transport in the capital.

Children have missed almost a billion days of school since the start of the pandemic, analysis by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank found. (Stock image)

City Hall sources said Transport for London could in theory set conditions of carriage relating to face coverings, but they suggested this would be ‘very difficult’.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘Evidence shows that the wearing of facemasks gives many Londoners the confidence that they can travel safely on public transport.

‘People feeling confident they can travel on our Tubes, buses and trains as they get busier will be a vital part of encouraging more people into central London as restrictions are lifted further, and it is something that we will continue to look at closely.’

The Scottish government has said there will be an ‘ongoing need’ for face coverings when all restrictions are lifted north of the border on August 9. 

It said that while measures were ‘under review’ people could still be expected to wear masks on public transport and in shops. 

UK ministers are also expected to relax contact tracing rules so people who have been double-vaccinated do not have to isolate for ten days and can instead take voluntary tests.

But this may not come into force on July 19 and may not be announced today.

Asked whether he would stop wearing a mask if the rules allowed, Mr Jenrick said he would because he did not particularly want to wear one.

He told Sky News: ‘We will be moving into a phase where these will be matters of personal choice. It will be a different period where we as private citizens make these judgments rather than the Government telling you what to do.’ 

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