British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged caution as the legal lockdown restrictions come to an end in England on so-called Freedom Day, even as he remains in self-isolation after coming in contact with United Kingdom Health Secretary Sajid Javid who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Johnson warned of the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant of coronavirus, which continues to keep the infection rate in the country at very high levels.
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
Under Step Four of the government’s four-step roadmap to end lockdown, COVID restrictions have now been replaced with guidance emphasising personal judgement and responsibility on face masks in indoor settings and caution in large gatherings.
We’re doing a big opening up, and that’s quite right. If we don’t do it now we’ll be opening up in the autumn and winter months when the virus has the advantage of the cold weather.
We’ll lose the precious firebreak we get with the school holidays, said Johnson in a video posted on Twitter.
If we don’t do it now we’ve got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it? This is the right moment. 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, he said.
He reiterated the message for everyone to come forward for their first or second doses, as the massive National Health Service (NHS) vaccination programme has very severely weakened the link between infection, hospitalisation and death.
So please, please, please be cautious. Go forward into the next step with all the right prudence and respect for other people and the risks that the disease continues to present, he added.
He also used his video to clarify Sunday’s U-turn by him and UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who first announced they would be taking part in a pilot scheme to be able to continue working from Downing Street despite being contacted by NHS Test and Trace system to self-isolate following Javid’s positive COVID-19 test.
“I’ve been asked to self-isolate by the Test, Trace and Isolate system after I’ve been in contact with somebody who has COVID, in this case of course the Health Secretary Sajid Javid,” Johnson said.