News this week
Wednesday 14 July 2021
“Freedom Day” is an expression that the media has coined to describe when the current Covid restrictions will end and life will return to so-called “normal”.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed this date as Monday 19th July 2021 for England. Here, in Wales, the First Minister has just announced that there will be some relaxation of restrictions from Saturday, 17th July 2021, but the majority of restrictions will not be lifted until 3 weeks later on 7th August 2021. Even then, some restrictions will remain such as wearing face masks in most indoor settings and transport.
At the same time, we are being advised to expect a third wave of coronavirus infections – especially now that the more contagious Delta (Indian) variant has been declared by Public Health Wales as the dominant strain in the country.
The new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has stated that with the new wave we can expect to see a 100,000 cases per day of coronavirus, and some experts such as Professor Neil Ferguson have projected that it could even be double that figure.
So, why are we now relaxing restrictions? The primary reason is that the UK is no longer experiencing the same surge in hospitalisations and deaths as case numbers rise again.
In other words, the roll out of the vaccination programme and the effectiveness of this vaccine has greatly reduced the numbers falling seriously ill or being hospitalised.
Clearly, our new “freedom” is very much dependent on people having the vaccine when they are offered it. The message from the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, when announcing the easing of restrictions could not be any clearer:
“The pandemic is not over and the virus continues to spread across Wales, which makes it really important for everyone to say yes to vaccination and to do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”