UK Covid Live News: England Lifts Most Remaining Restrictions As Poll Suggests Many Voters See This As ‘Wrong’ | politics
Good Morning. England has achieved what the anti-lockdown media has dubbed “Freedom Day” – the day most of the remaining Covid legal restrictions go away – but there are no signs of the triumphant mood expected a few weeks ago, and instead – In government and the general public – there is growing concern that everything could go wrong. The Mail on Sunday claimed Boris Johnson originally planned to deliver a speech today which, according to a government source, would “effectively declare victory over the virus by invoking the spirit of Churchill”. Obviously, that’s not happening, and instead Johnson released a video message yesterday urging people to exercise caution. He said:
So please, please, please be careful. Tomorrow, take the next step with the right care and respect for other people and the risks that the disease continues to pose.
Given that experts from around the world criticize Johnson as the opposite of cautious – “dangerous and unethical” is the term here – in his opening up policies, this could be a good example of why some have concluded that only the Satirists describe this government doing the right thing, and why the political commentator of the year press award went to my brilliant colleague Marina Hyde last week.
Johnson always said he wanted the loosening of lockdowns to be cautious but irreversible. He has calmed down lately on the “irreversible” piece, confirming the No 10 press release overnight that the possible return of restrictions later this year is now definitely possible. It says:
The data is continuously evaluated and emergency measures are retained if necessary in times of higher risk, but restrictions are avoided wherever possible.
Johnson was considered the 2019 general election winner because he was more in touch with public opinion than his rivals, but given the Covid restrictions, the public consistently supported the lockdown a lot more than Johnson himself and the new YouGov poll today for the Times (Paywall). ) suggests that people, by a margin of almost two to one, think that the removal of most restrictions in England today is wrong.
YouGov poll Photo: The Times
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30 a.m.: The ONS publishes figures on the effects of Covid on the hospitality industry.
12 noon: Downing Street holds its daily lobby meeting.
2.45 p.m.: Lord Frost, the Brexit Minister, speaks before the Commons’ European Control Committee.
3.30 p.m.: Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for the Use of Vaccines, makes a statement to MPs. He is expected to announce that the introduction of vaccination for children in England will be limited to those with pre-existing conditions or children close to their 18th birthday.
Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news lately, and that is likely to be the case today. For further coronavirus developments, follow our global Covid live blog.
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