ENGLAND HAS removed its final Covid-19 restrictions as the long-anticipated so-called 'Freedom Day' has come to pass.
19 July was earmarked as the 'Terminus'date for the removal of all Covid-19 restrictions, after the original date of 21 June was pushed back in order to get as many people vaccinated as possible to 'weaken the link' between cases and hospitalisations and deaths.
While England, along with the rest of the UK, is currently experiencing huge cases of Coronavirus and is well into its third wave of the pandemic, the vaccine programme means that hospitalisations and deaths are much lower, however they are rising.
From today, masks are no longer mandatory in shops, cafés and other public indoor spaces, or on public transport-- except for in London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan said it would remain mandatory on the tubes, busses and trams.
Social distancing measures have been scrapped, and concerts and sporting events can go ahead at full capacity, and nightclubs can reopen for the first time since March 2020 with no restrictions.
Table service in bars will also no longer be necessary, with customers allowed to order from the bar.
But while social distancing measures are no more, test and trace remains in operation, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to be identified as close contacts this week.
From August, double-vaccinated people who are identified as close contacts will not have to self-isolate and will instead be able to take daily tests to ensure they do not develop the virus.
While the English public are cautiously waiting to experience a restrictions-free life again,Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to wait-- he is currently self-isolating until 26 July after he was a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case: Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Like so many people I've been pinged by NHS Test and Trace as I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and I will be self-isolating until Monday 26th July. pic.twitter.com/X57gDpwDqe
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 18, 2021
The Conservative Party leader took to social media where he uploaded a video of himself urging caution across the country as restrictions ease, and encouraging 'personal responsibility' to keep people safe.
However he said now was the "right moment" to fully exit lockdown, as "if we don't do it now.... when will we ever do it?"
"But we've got to do it cautiously. We've got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant."