How Covid lockdown restrictions could change after 19 July
When will self-isolation rules end?
Newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was ‘confident that date would be the end of all measures
June 30, 2021 12:31 pm(Updated 1:25 pm)
Sajid Javid has declared that 19 July will be “the end of the line” for coronavirus restrictions in England. Addressing the House of Commons for the first time on Tuesday, the newly appointed Health Secretary said despite rising cases of the Delta variant across the UK, he was “confident” that date would be the end of all measures. He said the target date will be met and that the country will “learn to live with” Covid-19.
So with restrictions set to ease, what exactly will change on ‘freedom day’? Here’s what we know.
According to a report by The Sun, any Britons who are fully vaccinated will be exempt from the 10-day isolation rule, even if they are informed by the Test and Trace app that they have come into close contact with someone who has contracted the virus.
As an alternative, the vaccinated will be required to take a 20-minute lateral flow test and will only have to isolate if they test positive following a successful 40,000 person pilot study. However, they will be required to take a test every day during the 10 day period.
Under current measures which require children to isolate for 10 days if a peer in their bubble tests positive, latest official figures released by the Department for Education showed that 357,000 (5 per cent) of children were absent from English schools last week.
With pressures mounting on ministers to overhaul the ‘bubble’ self-isolation rules which cause significant disruption to face-to-face learning, Education minister Nick Gibb told LBC on Wednesday that the Government is currently piloting rapid testing in a number of schools and colleges until the end of today.
Data will be reviewed to determine a plan over the coming weeks before the new term begins in September. On Wednesday, Mr Gibb told Sky News that an announcement on pupil school measures will be made prior to 19 July.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the Government is exploring the use of daily tests for travellers as an alternative to the 10 day quarantine currently in place. The Government will also be looking into the double-vaccinated being exempt from quarantine.
However, the travel traffic light system, which categorises holiday destinations into red, amber and green, is a measure that will continue for the foreseeable future.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said the Government is keen to scale up travel which could see more countries being added to the green list over the coming weeks.
Nightlife and live music
From 19 July people will be allowed to meet in groups of any size, venues such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and large events like festivals can go ahead, according to a report by The Sun. However, it is unknown as to whether they will need to function in limited capacities.
Pubs and restaurants
Until 19 July the Rule of Six will remain in place in indoor settings and groups of up to 30 will be allowed outdoors. When 19 July arrives, pubs and restaurants will lift the table service-only measures, and groups of more than six will be allowed to dine and drink indoors.
From 21 June, the 30-person cap was scrapped and ceremonies are able to take place with unlimited guests providing that social distancing remains in place to mitigate transmission of the virus.
However, singing and dancing is currently still prohibited and only the bride and groom can have the first dance.
All restrictions are expected to be lifted on 19 July.
As with weddings, Boris Johnson announced on 14 June that the 30-guest limit on funeral and wakes will be lifted.
The number of attendees, however, is currently still determined by the number of people venues can accommodate within safe social distancing restrictions.
As with weddings, all restrictions are expected to be lifted on 19 July.
Face masks, social distancing and testing
While social distancing and the wearing of face masks are endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a vital precautionary measure which should continue, many ministers have expressed their determination to ditch such measures after 19 July.
While it is unclear as to whether the face masks will be tossed into the bin, it is likely that track and trace, testing and face mask wearing will continue to form a part of our everyday lives for the foreseeable future.