Prime Minister Boris Johnson and new Health Secretary Sajid Javid will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce plans for 19 July
Boris Johnson will confirm his plans to “restore people’s freedoms” with an update on restrictions later today.
The Prime Minister will lay out the details for England’s final step out of lockdown, currently scheduled to take on effect on 19 July.
He is expected to announce that the one-metre social distancing rule and the legal requirement to wear a face mask will be scrapped.
He is also expected to reveal the next steps for care home visits and provide an update on the formal advice to work from home wherever possible.
While coronavirus cases are soaring across the country, the vaccination roll-out has significantly reduced the number of people suffering from serious illness or dying from the disease.
The fourth and final stage of the government’s roadmap out lockdown in England was delayed last month to no earlier than 19 July.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in charge of their own coronavirus rules, and the Scottish government has suggested it may retain some basic measures, including wearing masks, at its next review in August.
The chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it “makes no sense” to stop wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces amid a rising number of cases of the Delta variant.
Will Mas Wearing Continue?
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know that face masks are proven to reduce spread of this infection” and “can’t understand why – at a time where there are ‘exceptional high levels of cases’ – we would “knowingly want people to become infected”.
In comments released by Downing Street before the prime minister gives his update at 17:00 BST, Mr Johnson said he “must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks”.
But praising the successful vaccine rollout, he said he would “set out how we can restore people’s freedoms”.
Downing Street said step four would go ahead in two weeks time only if the government’s “four tests” for easing curbs had been met.
The verdict on those tests – on the jab rollout, vaccine effectiveness, hospital admissions, and new virus variants – would only be confirmed on 12 July following a review of the latest data, No 10 said.
The findings of reviews on the use of Covid certification – or vaccine passports – and on social-distancing measures are also due to be announced by Mr Johnson.
What Time Is The announcement?
Prior to this, Mr Javid will update MPs in the Commons at 3:30pm (or later, depending on the parliamentary diary).
They are expected to call for more eligible adults to go for their second vaccine dose before 19 July, to ensure they have the highest protection possible.
Mr Johnson said: “Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme, we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap.
“Today we will set out how we can restore people’s freedoms when we reach step 4.
“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.”