Tory minister says UK should ‘move as one’ out of Covid restrictions
A Tory minister had said that the UK should “move as one” out of Covid-19 restrictions.
Robert Jenrick, Boris Johnson’s Communities Secretary, told The Andrew Marr Show that the UK Government wants the other nations of the UK to follow England and lift all legal coronavirus rules on July 19.
He said the Westminster government was going to “work with” Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to “try and be as coordinated as possible”.
However medical expert Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said the plan for what has been dubbed “freedom day”, just “makes no sense”.
In England it is expected that masks will become voluntary in public places, for the 1 metre-plus social distancing rule to be scrapped and for house parties to be allowed again.
But doctors have warned that face masks will still be needed beyond this month. The British Medical Association (BMA) have called the significant rise in infections in the UK “alarming”.
Jenrick said: “We would like the whole of the Union to move as one. We are going to work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to try and be as coordinated as possible.
“Cases are slightly different in each of the four nations but certainly in England, our view is that things are looking positive for July 19.”
“We now have to move into a different period where we learn to live with the virus, we take precautions and we as individuals take personal responsibility.”
No date has been set for lifting restrictions in Wales, but more of Wales’ Covid-19 rules could change over the next few weeks from being legal requirements to government advice, according to a Welsh minister.
Counsel General Mick Antoniw told BBC Wales that ministers and officials would evaluate data ahead of the next review on 15 July.
According to official figures, weekly Covid-19 cases in the UK are up 74% on the previous seven days.
On Friday, 27,125 new positive cases were recorded across the UK’s four nations, and there were another 27 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
The BMA says there’s been a 55% rise in the number of patients admitted to hospitals in England with Covid-19 over the past week
A further 535 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Wales, according to recent data published by Public Health Wales.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council, said: “It makes no sense to remove restrictions in their entirety in just over two weeks’ time.
“The promise was to make decisions based on data and not dates, and while we were pleased to see the government react to data in delaying the easing on 21 June last month, ministers must not now simply disregard the most recent, damning numbers by rushing into meeting their new 19 July deadline.”
Counsel General Mick Antoniw told BBC Politics Wales that the Welsh Government’s “current thinking is that we have obviously an increase in the level of infections, but we have less hospitalisation out of that”.
“We want to maximise the vaccination rates still further, and then around the 15th or 16th of July, we’ll have a review, and we’ll consider what further easings can be taken within the data that we actually have.
“Setting a date has its own problems because, if you’re saying you want to achieve these certain things on this particular date… it is still always dependent on what the latest information is in respect of the infection rates.
“We are certainly moving in the direction of a much greater normality.
“But the pandemic is going to be with us for some time.”