Covid-19: England lockdown end still set for 19 July – Javid

The final easing of lockdown measures in England is still set for 19 July, the new health secretary has said.

Sajid Javid told MPs that ministers “see no reason to go beyond” that “target date”.

He said that while cases are rising, the number of deaths “remains mercifully low”.

In a statement, he said no date for lifting restrictions would come with “zero risk” and that “we have to learn to live with” Covid-19.

“We also know that people and businesses need certainty, so we want every step to be irreversible,” he said.

“The restrictions on our freedoms, they must come to an end.”

  • What’s the current plan to end Covid restrictions?
  • Mixing Covid vaccines ‘gives good protection’, study suggests

“The restrictions on our freedoms, they must come to an end.”

He added that the government was aiming for “around two thirds of all adults in this country” to have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine by 19 July.

However, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth asked what the health secretary would do to push infections down.

“Vaccinations will do it eventually, but not in the next four weeks,” he said. “I hope his confidence does not prove to be premature or hubristic.”

Mr Javid’s update comes two weeks after the government announced it would push back step four of its roadmap out of lockdown – originally planned for 21 June – by four weeks.

The number of new cases across the UK has continued to rise quickly in that time.

A further 116,287 cases have been recorded in the past seven days – a 70% increase on the previous week’s total.

But latest estimates show fewer than one in 1,000 infections is leading to a death. At the peak of the winter wave it was one in 60.

Until lockdown is further eased in England, limits will remain on gatherings.

Currently, groups of no more than 30 are allowed to meet outdoors, while up to six people or two households are allowed indoors. Capacity limits will continue at venues and nightclubs will stay closed.

However, some coronavirus pilot events are continuing as planned, including some upcoming Euro 2020 games, Wimbledon and arts and music performances. Attendees have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.

Comments are closed.