England may drop mask requirements soon, minister says


LONDON (AP) – England may soon drop legal requirements for wearing masks, a government minister said on Sunday as the nation waits for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce plans to relax COVID-19 measures.

Johnson is expected in the next few days to inform England of ‘Freedom Day’ – the plan to remove remaining restrictions on business and social interactions on July 19. British media have widely reported that many of the requirements, including the wearing of the mask, will also end.

“We will, I think, now enter a period where there will be no legal restrictions – the state will not tell you what to do – but you will want to exercise a certain degree of personal responsibility and judgment and so on. . different people will come to different conclusions about things like masks, ”Housing Minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News. “The Prime Minister will give more details on national policy regarding some of these restrictions in the coming days. “

Some doctors have expressed concern that restrictions will be eased again as infection rates rise, in large part because of the more transmissible delta variant. Despite the surge in new infections, there has been no equivalent increase in hospitalizations and deaths, emboldening government ministers who believe Britain must learn to live with the virus.

The number of new confirmed infections recorded across the UK in the past seven days has risen 67% from the previous week, according to government statistics. Last week, 118 coronavirus-related deaths were reported, one less than the previous period.

Public health officials attribute the divergence in figures to the success of Britain’s vaccination program. Almost 86% of UK adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 63.4% are fully vaccinated.

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