BACK TO NORMALITY: PM Urges Caution As Restrictions Ease
Indoor Hospitality Returns.
"People must continue to play their part in stopping Coronavirus", Boris Johnson has said, as the country starts to return back to normality.
The time has come, and millions of us can now socialise indoors, hug loved ones and visit inside pubs and restaurants. The foreign travel ban has also been lifted and replaced with some new rules.
The Prime Minister has said "We have reached another milestone in our road map out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution."
The new rules come as the variant that was first identified in India continues to spread in the UK, with mass testing rolled out to hotspots in the South including Bolton in Greater Manchester and parts of London and Sefton.
Mr Johnson also said that the government is keeping the variant "under close observation" and "taking swift action where infection rates are rising".
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told radio listeners that he is "very confident" in the government being able to lift England's remaining restrictions from June 21st "but can't guarantee that".
He also said "There is flexibility here because we have another five weeks till the reopening and we will be revisiting the data".
Over 6,200 people were vaccinated in Bolton at the weekend, where the Indian variant now makes up the majority of new Covid-19 cases.
Scientists believe the Indian variant does spread more easily, however early data still suggests vaccines are working.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government's independent scientific advisory group Sage, said that the lifting of rules was the "most difficult policy decision of the last 15 months."
He told Today: "It is very, very finely balanced".
Sir Jeremy also said "I think we will see an increase of cases and infections over the coming weeks as some of the restrictions are lifted, but the key question is whether we have decoupled increased transmission in the number of people who do get infected from the number of people who get ill and need to go to hospital."
The British Medical Association said it was a "real worry" that the easing is going ahead whilst the Indian variant is spreading and many younger people are still not vaccinated.
Boris Johnson has said numerous times that the roadmap out of lockdown in England is irreversible, however in a video on social media he said that it is only irreversible if "we all follow rules".
The PM cautioned that the Indian variant may make things "more difficult" but the business secretary said he's "hopeful" and "confident" that June 21st's rule easing will still happen and we can all get back to normality.
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