London, July 12 (BNA): All remaining lockdown restrictions in England will be lifted in a week despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday as he urged people to “proceed with caution” and continue to take steps to stay safe.
Johnson said although risks of the pandemic remain, legal restrictions will be replaced by a recommendation that people wear masks in crowded places and on public transport, reported AP.
“This pandemic is not over. This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family. We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before COVID,” Johnson said.
The final stage of easing England’s lockdown means that all restrictions on social gatherings will be removed and social distancing measures will be scrapped.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was the right time to allow Britons a chance to return to normal life, and that the government’s decision balances the harms brought by COVID-19 and damage done by continued restrictions.
Javid told Parliament that Britain’s successful vaccine rollout means that nine out of 10 adults in the U.K. now have antibodies against the virus.
The government is on track to meet its target of offering all adults a first vaccine dose by July 19, the day when all remaining lockdown restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing, are to be lifted.
As of Monday, 87% of the U.K.’s adult population have had their first dose, and 66% have had both doses.
At the same time infections have soared in recent weeks, running at over 30,000 new cases daily, driven by the delta variant.