Boris Johnson is taking a big gamble with ‘Freedom Day’4 min read 23 Jul 2021, 07:01 PM IST
The full reopening of the UK from 19 July can prove to be a mistake given rising infections and partial vaccinations. Politically too, the damage a resurgence of covid would do far outweighs the gains a successful reopening would bring.
With their usual flourish, British tabloids dubbed 19 July as “Freedom Day", or more prosaically, the day the United Kingdom entered stage four of its reopening plan. This was the day, delayed by four weeks, on which most remaining covid pandemic-related restrictions were lifted in the UK. Some restrictions remain, such as the need for workers to self-isolate if they are pinged by the official contact testing and tracing app, and local bodies continue to impose their own restrictions, such as mandating mask use on the London Underground. But, in the main, most pandemic-era restrictions are gone: mask use is now voluntary, not compulsory (except where otherwise mandated), social distancing (already honoured in the breach rather than the observance for the past many weeks) is a thing of the past, and capacity limits have been lifted at restaurants, concert halls, theatres and other public places.