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Freedom Day: The Covid-19 restrictions ending on 19 July

BORIS Johnson held a press conference last night (12 July) where he confirmed which Covid rules will be scrapped.

Most restrictions will be scrapped- but the  Prime Minister urged the public to adopt a cautious approach.

The use of domestic vaccine passports and face masks will be encouraged as ministers set out a cautious approach to England’s “freedom day” on July 19 in response to soaring coronavirus cases.

Experts fear there could be 200 deaths a day as cases surge, despite the protection offered by the vaccination campaign.

Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution and I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over.

“This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family.

“We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid.

Mr Johnson warned that July 19 “should not be taken as an invitation by everybody simply to have a great jubilee and freedom from any kind of caution or restraint”.

He said he still hoped the road map was “irreversible” but “in order to have that, it has also got to be a cautious approach”.

Here is a full list of the rules and guidance set to come into place on Monday 19 July:

Social distancing and gathering limits

The ‘one meter plus’ rule will be scrapped on July 19.

However, there are still some scenarios where it will remain in place i.e when someone is Covid positive and self-isolating, or in airports to avoid travellers arriving from amber or red-list countries mixing with those from green list areas.

Social distancing will also be required when “maintaining infection control in health and care settings.”

There will no longer be limits of social contact, meaning the current rule of six indoors and 30 outdoors will be scrapped.

This means that large events, such as weddings, can run at full capacity.

Face masks

Masks will no longer be mandatory- but still advised in crowded places.

Johnson added that the government “expect” and “recommend” people to wear a wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport.

Some businesses or public transport operators may still ask customers to wear one.

Nightclubs can reopen- but vaccine passports are advised

After months of closure, nightclubs and other music venues will be able to reopen.

However, Boris Johnson recommended that these venues and events should use vaccine passports for entry “as a matter of social responsibility”.

The Covid Pass, on the NHS app, shows proof of double vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity having recovered from coronavirus.

Although its use will be voluntary at first, if cases continue to rise the Government could consider making it mandatory in certain venues in the future.

Rules at pubs and bars

Normal service will also resume at bars and hospitality venues, with table service no longer required- unless these venues decide to keep them in place.

Working from home

The Government order to work from home where possible will lift from Monday meaning employees can return to the office.

However, ministers encouraged firms to implement a gradual return to the workplace.

Foreign travel

From 19 July, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine

Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel.

Children under 18 will also be exempt from quarantine when returning to England from amber countries.

The recommendation for people to not travel to amber countries will also be removed from 19 July – but people should continue to check FCDO travel advice before booking travel.

Pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures will still remain in place.

School bubbles

On 6 July, the Education Secretary confirmed that Covid restrictions in education settings will end during Step 4 of the lockdown roadmap.

As part of Step 4, expected to take place on 19 July, ‘bubbles’ will end for all children under 18, social distancing will no longer be necessary, and schools will not need to stagger start and finish times.

However, they can continue with existing arrangements until the end of term if they wish. 

From the autumn term, children will no longer need to self-isolate if they have been in contact with a positive case; they will only need to isolate if they themselves test positive.

Self-isolation

From 16 August, the legal requirement to self-isolate for contacts of a positive case will end for everyone aged under 18, and for adults who have been fully vaccinated.

However, they will still be ‘advised’ to take a PCR test.

What about the clinically vulnerable?

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised to avoid others who are unvaccinated when all remaining coronavirus restrictions are eased in England next week.

Those most at risk of serious illness from the virus should continue to meet outdoors where possible and ask friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting from July 19, according to Government guidance.

The updated advice is aimed at the estimated 3.7 million in this group, which includes people with certain cancers and those with severe respiratory conditions.

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