Boris Johnson says most Covid rules likely to end in England on 19 July | Coronavirus | The Guardian

by health and nutrition advice journalist

Boris Johnson has told the public in England that from 19 July they must use their own judgment to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infections, wiping hundreds of regulations on mask-wearing, social distancing, gatherings and home working and heralding a return to normality.

The prime minister will also announce plans for those who have been double vaccinated to avoid quarantine rules on return from amber-list countries or when contacted by test and trace, with more details later in the week.

He said: “We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays, we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal?”

There will be no requirement to wear a mask in any setting in England and businesses who chose to enforce mask-wearing would need to take legal advice on their responsibilities under the Equality Act, Downing Street said.

Instead, people will be merely advised to consider wearing a mask in crowded spaces where they mingle with people they would not ordinarily meet. The change has prompted a significant backlash from regional mayors, who have called for their wearing to be retained on transport and retail.

Drinking at the bar will also return as all social distancing requirements for leisure and hospitality will be dropped. Full capacity sports and entertainment events can proceed, including pop concerts, nightclubs and elite sport.

The only regulations that will remain will be a requirement to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19, as well as some remaining restrictions on international travel and mixing at the border. Directors of public health will also retain some powers to act in a crisis situation.

No 10 said that vaccinations had “broken the link” between cases and hospitalisations and deaths, saying hospitalisations and deaths would inevitably continue but at a far reduced level thanks to the jab.

It came as the government announced a further 27,334 Covid-19 cases in the UK on Monday with nine deaths.

Johnson also announced a surge in vaccinating the under-40s, who will have the vaccine dose interval slashed from 12 weeks to eight, in line with the over-40s, meaning every adult will be offered two jabs by mid-September.

The review into social distancing, announced at the beginning of the roadmap, recommends the lifting of the 1-metre rule in all areas apart from at border gates, where the rule will remain in place to limit mixing with passengers from red list countries.

There will no longer be any specific recommendation to work from home and restrictions on the number of named visitors to care homes will be lifted.

A separate review into the use of Covid passports has concluded there should be no legal requirements for their use as a condition of entry for any setting, but businesses will be able to voluntarily adopt certification, which Number 10 said would be facilitated by the NHS app which allows you to show your current vaccine and test status.

There will be no regulation to use the NHS app to sign into venues but people will be encouraged to do so. Johnson’s spokesman said it was a “good thing to do to support contact tracing but as more people are allowed into venues without booking, it becomes more challenging operationally.”

Downing Street said further announcement on travel and school bubbles were expected later this week, but the requirement for double vaccinated people to isolate on return from amber-list countries and the rules on isolation for pupils are widely expected to be ditched.

According to official government data published last week at least one in 20 children were absent from state schools in England because of Covid, with a 66% increase in the number of pupils with confirmed infections.

This content was originally published here.

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