HEALTH
Face masks, social distancing and ‘Rule of Six’ could be ditched on July 19

All remaining coronavirus restrictions including social distancing, face masks and the work-from-home guidance could be lifted on July 19, according to a report.

The Government is expected to confirm next week that July 5 is too early to lift the measures while more people receive their second vaccine.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson is increasingly optimistic, according to the Times, that all remaining restrictions can be eased on July 19.

A source told the newspaper that ministers want to “get as close to normal as possible” on July 19 and that the emphasis will be on “personal responsibility” rather than laws.

As the coronavirus restrictions continue and the government is about to announce an extension to the original 'freedom day' planned for June, slowing the process of easing, more and more people begin to come to the city centre, seen here on New Street on 15th June 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. After months of lockdown, the first signs that life will start to get back to normal continue, with more people enjoying the company of others in public, while uncertainty continues for a projected further month, which is being dubbed 'The final push'. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)© Mike Kemp As the coronavirus restrictions continue and the government is about to announce an extension to the original ‘freedom day’ planned for June, slowing the process of easing, more and more people begin to come to the city centre, seen here on New Street on 15th June 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. After months of lockdown, the first signs that life will start to get back to normal continue, with more people enjoying the company of others in public, while uncertainty continues for a projected further month, which is being dubbed ‘The final push’. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The requirement to wear face masks on public transport and in shops will reportedly be replaced with guidance advising people to wear them in some places.

Individuals and employers will also be left to decide for themselves over the work-from-home guidance.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had said the Government was “on track” for the July 19 easing of restrictions, but acknowledged that opening up travel abroad is “more difficult”.

“Thankfully, because of the vaccination programme, we have been able to free up a huge number of the restrictions here at home,” he told Sky News.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 15: Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street in London, United Kingdom on June 15, 2021. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)© Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 15: Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street in London, United Kingdom on June 15, 2021. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

“We are on track to deliver the Step 4, the further openings, on July 19, which is good.

“We are also looking to see how we can replace the protections that are currently there with the restrictions with protections that come from the vaccine, with respect to international travel as well.

“But it is more difficult freeing up international travel.”

The latest developments come as the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK reached its highest level for nearly two months.

Covid-19 variant of concern public health NHS advertising board a the coronavirus restrictions continue and the government is about to announce an extension to the original 'freedom day' planned for June, slowing the process of easing, more and more people begin to come to the city centre on 15th June 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. After months of lockdown, the first signs that life will start to get back to normal continue, with more people enjoying the company of others in public, while uncertainty continues for a projected further month, which is being dubbed 'The final push'. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)© Mike Kemp Covid-19 variant of concern public health NHS advertising board a the coronavirus restrictions continue and the government is about to announce an extension to the original ‘freedom day’ planned for June, slowing the process of easing, more and more people begin to come to the city centre on 15th June 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. After months of lockdown, the first signs that life will start to get back to normal continue, with more people enjoying the company of others in public, while uncertainty continues for a projected further month, which is being dubbed ‘The final push’. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

A total of 1,378 patients were in hospital on June 20, according to the latest Government figures.

This is up 21 per cent from the previous week and is the highest since April 29.

It is also up 58 per cent from the 870 patients recorded on May 27, which was the lowest number since the second wave of the virus.

The figures are still well below those recorded at the peak of the second wave.

A total of 39,254 Covid-19 patients were in hospital on January 18 – the highest at any point since the pandemic began.

The figures come as the average number of daily reported cases of Covid-19 in the UK topped 10,000 for the first time since late February.

Source: Standard.co.uk

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