It has been revealed that plans for England’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ will be unveiled by the Prime Minister in the “next few days”.
Speaking to reporters, Boris Johnson said he will be speaking in the coming days about what life will look like after July 19.
In an upbeat message, the Prime Minister boasted that, despite daily cases soaring over 26,000, “that is not translating into a big increase in serious illness and death.”
“It looks ever clearer that… the speed of that vaccine rollout has broken that link between infection and mortality and that’s an amazing thing,” he declared. “That gives us the scope, we think on the 19th to go ahead, cautiously, irreversibly.”
But he also warned some restrictions could remain – as his spokesman refused to rule out keeping mask rules on public transport.
That could challenge his “hope” in the original roadmap that all legal limits on social contact would be lifted at step four.
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During a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, the Prime Minister told reporters: “I know how impatient people are to get back to total normality, as indeed am I.
“I will be setting in the course of the next few days what step four will look like exactly.
“But I think I’ve said it before, we’ll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible. Try to get back to life as close to it was before Covid.
“But there may be some things we have to do, extra precautions that we have to take, but I’ll be setting them out.”
Speaking after the interview, Mr Johnson’s spokesman refused to rule out keeping some legal restrictions – such as masks on public transport – after July 19 in England.
He said: “We want to get rid of as many restrictions as is safe to do so – I’m not going to be commenting on what measures will or will not be in place after step four.”
It comes after a string of announcements in recent days about what life will look like after July 19.
They include plans to scrap school bubbles later this month, reducing the number of children who have to isolate.
And there will be a booster vaccine programme from September targeted at more than 30million Brits if deemed necessary by the government.
Boris Johnson also promised an update in the next few days about when double-vaccinated Brits will be able to travel abroad without quarantining on their return.
Asked about reports it could happen from July 26, he replied: “I’m very confident that the double jabs will be a liberator and they will enable people to travel.
“We’ll be setting out a lot more about the detail of that in the course of July, in the course of the next few days, about how we see it working.
“But there’s no doubt at all that once you’ve got two jabs you are in a much better position.
“Obviously as everybody can see we’ll be going forward in the Autumn with a booster programme for the more vulnerable just to give us that extra insulation, that extra security we need.
“Everybody who is frustrated about travel over the summer – double jabs will be a liberator.”
But he added: “I want travel to be possible but I’ve got to stress that this year will not be like every other year because of the difficulties with Covid. People shouldn’t expect it will be completely hassle free.”
The PM is set to make a final announcement about whether step four can proceed as planned on July 12.