Doctors are keen to keep some Covid-19 measures in place, as the Prime Minister prepares to unveil more information about what will happen on July 19th.
The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for the use of face masks to continue in some settings and for ventilation standards to be reviewed. July 19th has been described as ‘freedom day’ with remaining protective measures expected to be eliminated from this date.
Originally, the aim was to lift restrictions from June 21st but a significant increase in the number of Delta variant cases caused the government to push the date back to allow more people to get their vaccines.
BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, urged caution and said that the lifting of restrictions was not “a binary all or nothing decision.” The BMA recommends keeping some guidelines in place, including wearing face masks on public transport and enclosed public spaces, such as shops, and encouraging ministers to provide more information about the benefits of ventilation to reduce the risk of transmission once people start mixing more indoors.
Dr Nagpaul said that it was important not to undo all of the good work achieved by the vaccine rollout, especially as case numbers are still rising. The number of people testing positive is continuing to increase day on day and more people are being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
The BMA has encouraged the government to tread carefully and to urge the public to be wary of the threat of contracting and spreading the virus. There are still thousands of people who have not been given either their first or second dose and the virus will not simply disappear on the 19th of July.
The Prime Minister is expected to provide more information about what the next steps will look like in the coming days. Reports suggest that it may become voluntary to wear masks and that businesses that have been closed, for example, nightclubs, will be able to reopen. There is also a possibility that people who have received both vaccine doses will be able to travel to countries on the amber list without isolating on their return.