According to the British government, all adults have now had the opportunity to be vaccinated against the virus, with two-thirds of them fully vaccinated. That is why the state is taking a step back, relying on the ‘personal responsibility’ of the British themselves. Johnson’s tone around the British ‘Freedom Day’ has become less and less cheerful in recent weeks. The new freedoms come with a warning: stay careful.
“If we don’t unlock now, then when?” Johnson wondered aloud as he announced the easing. Delaying “Freedom Day” by a month or two would not help, according to scientific predictions. The number of infections is not expected to decrease in the coming period and the autumn or winter are even less suitable for easing because the virus is spreading even faster indoors. In the summer, most of the social life takes place outdoors, Johnson says.
The British Experiment
The easing has been called ‘the British experiment’ by skeptics: what happens if you scrap measures against the spread of coronavirus, despite soaring infections among a population with a high vaccination coverage? Israel relaxed with a much lower infection rate, but later made face masks mandatory again. In the Netherlands, on 26 June, lower infections were relaxed, but fewer shots had been taken there.
In the United Kingdom, the high vaccination coverage is still helping to keep the number of hospitalizations and deaths lower than in previous waves. However, the UK government’s chief medical adviser Chris Whitty warned that the number of hospital admissions could rise again in the coming period. scary numbers can show.
According to some health experts, the British government’s plans are also putting the rest of the world at risk. They fear it could become a breeding ground for new mutations if the infection rate remains high. There are also concerns about lung covid, a condition in which people have long-term complaints.
Meanwhile, the British economy is beeping and squeaking under the number of people being ‘pinged’ by the corona app, which is similar to the corona detector app in the Netherlands. In the first week of July, more than half a million people received a notification, a ‘ping’, because they had been in contact with an infected person.
This leads to major staff shortages in all kinds of sectors. At the Nissan car factory, 900 employees – about 10 percent of the staff – had to quarantine last week. In some municipalities, the garbage collection service is hindered because the staff are expected to stay at home. In London, a tube line was shut down because insufficient staff were available in the control room.
British Prime Minister Johnson is in quarantine today. He and his finance minister, Rishi Sunak, had been in contact with health minister Sajid Javid, who tested positive last week.
Initially, Johnson said he would not be quarantined because he was part of a trial that examines the extent to which people in essential professions can continue to work if they are tested daily. After fierce criticism from all corners of British society, that idea was reversed within hours. For example, Freedom Day is not a day of freedom for the British Prime Minister himself.