U.K. plans to lift curbs from July 19
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil plans on Monday to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing in England in two weeks’ time, despite surging coronavirus infections driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
Mr. Johnson said he would set out how the country would “learn to live with this virus” — a major shift in tone from a leader who has previously painted COVID-19 as an enemy to be vanquished.
Before a televised news conference, Mr. Johnson signalled that mandatory measures would be replaced by personal choice after July 19, the date dubbed “freedom day” by Britain’s populist press.
“As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise judgment when going about our lives,” Mr. Johnson said.
But public health officials have urged caution, saying ditching masks and social distancing altogether could be dangerous. Psychologist Stephen Reicher, a member of the government’s scientific advisory committee, said “proportionate mitigations” against the spread of the virus should stay in place.
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