On 12 July, the British government confirmed that all coronavirus-related restrictions in England would be removed on 19 of July, in spite of the latest record-breaking daily amount of new COVID-19 cases, recorded earlier in this week.
On Monday, England removed all coronavirus-related lockdown measures, as the country continues its mass vaccination program. Anti-pandemic measures were also eased, but not fully removed, in Scotland and Wales.
New rules allow Britons to visit theaters, concert venues and nightclubs. Sports stadiums are able to accommodate their full capacity of spectators and government recommendations to work from home have been canceled, along with mandatory mask-wearing in crowded spaces. All hospitality venues have returned to full capacity.
Government only has left non-mandatory recommendations to wear face coverings in crowded places, minimize social contacts, make regular COVID-19 tests in “high risk workplaces.”
With restrictions removed, England welcomed the end of anti-pandemic measures, celebrating “Freedom Day,” as nightclubs and bars are preparing to reopen and function at full capacity, beginning Monday.
In London and other cities, some of the keenest party enthusiasts couldn’t wait for next week to attend loud clubs to dance and chill, and the upcoming working day hasn’t stopped them.
Nightclub ‘Heaven’ in London celebrates the lifting of restrictions in England with Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s ‘Rain On Me’. pic.twitter.com/bMnYY3IlBE
— Gaga Now ⚡️ (@ladygaganownet) July 18, 2021
VIDEO: It’s over! The scene inside Digital, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as crowds welcome the arrival of #FreedomDay 🏴. pic.twitter.com/N0wyOifBPZ #freedomdayUK #Newcastle #Freiheit #Freedom #vrijheid
— Sam Pye (@freddie1999) July 19, 2021
— Clàudia Sacrest (@claudia_sacrest) July 19, 2021
Excited ravers pack into nightclubs from midnight as ‘Freedom Day’ begins https://t.co/z62wSbuqNf
— The News Yard (@thenewsyard) July 19, 2021
The excitement wasn’t spoiled after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he self-isolated for 10 days after he met with Health Minister Sajid Javid, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. The head of the government posted a video on Twitter on Sunday, noting that this was “the “right moment” to remove restrictions and urging Britons, at the time, to be “cautious.”
“We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant,” he said.
Like so many people I’ve been pinged by NHS Test and Trace as I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and I will be self-isolating until Monday 26th July. pic.twitter.com/X57gDpwDqe
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 18, 2021
Javid said last Monday that England will move to the final stage of removing pandemic protocols, adding that the vaccination continues successfully and the National Health Service would be overwhelmed as the vaccines were proved to be effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths.
The UK has one of the highest vaccination rates in the EU. At the moment, almost 88 percent of all adults have received their first vaccine shot, and more than 68 percent of those over 18 are fully vaccinated, according to the official UK government tracking system.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases, however, has skyrocketed in in UK throughout the last months as a new coronavirus variant, Delta, continues to spread across the world. This week, this figure surpassed the 50,000 mark for the first time since January and as for Monday, Britain reported 48,161 new COVID-19 positive tests.