Pandemic restrictions were lifted in England on Monday despite scientists and opposition parties warning the British government against the same. From midnight, local time, nightclubs reopened while other indoor establishments were allowed to operate at full capacity with no social distancing norms required.
Additionally, wearing masks is no longer mandatory for citizens with remote working rules also scrapped. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating after health minister Sajid Javid tested positive for COVID-19, has asked the public to remain cautious and get themselves vaccinated.
“If we don't do it now, then we'll be opening up in the autumn, the winter months, when the virus has the advantage of the cold weather,” he said in defence of what is being called ‘Freedom Day’ by some sections of the media.
The reopening comes with daily infections topping 50,000 in Britain, behind only Brazil and Indonesia, amid fears of contagious variants leading fresh waves of cases.
“If we don't do it now, we've got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it? So this is the right moment, but we've got to do it cautiously,” he said, adding that this week’s start of summer break for schools was a “precious firebreak”.
Meanwhile, Labour Party’s health spokesperson Jonathan Ashworth said that the government was being “reckless” and that his party was “against opening up without precautions in place”. The comments were in line with warnings from experts who say the event can lead to a global outbreak.