Boris Johnson to hold “Freedom day” press conference later today

It is likely people in England will still be expected to wear masks indoors and in enclosed spaces, said Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold a press briefing later today on whether July 19th “freedom day” will still go ahead.

The conference will take place today from within Downing Street’s press room, with the PM leading the latest Covid-19 briefing update.

The next stage of easing was expected to be confirmed by Johnson today, however other reports have quoted him as saying that ‘caution is absolutely vital.’

Whilst this next stage of lifting measures is seen by many as a further move towards normality and out of the pandemic, public opinion does appear to be split on whether now is the right time for easing to go ahead.

Much of the British public seem particularly keen to keep mask wearing. A recent You Gov poll found 71% felt face masks should continue to be mandatory on public transport, as well as in shops and some enclosed public spaces (66%) after the expected lifting of restrictions on 19th July, dubbed “freedom day” by some.

However, Johnson has continually hinted that the lifting of all remaining restrictions is “tantalisingly close” – which would see an end to the legal requirement to wear masks in England.

Boris Johnson will host a press conference this afternoon, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid will reveal the plans to Parliament in the House of Commons.

“While the phenomenal vaccine rollout has offered every adult some protection against the virus, and the crucial link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths is weakened, the global pandemic is not over yet,” said the Prime Minister.

“Cases will rise as we unlock, so as we confirm our plans today, our message will be clear. Caution is absolutely vital, and we must all take responsibility so we don’t undo our progress, ensuring we continue to protect our NHS.”

What time is Boris Johnson’s Covid press conference?

The Prime Minister has previously held his Covid briefings at 5pm from the Downing Street press briefing room.

The Prime Minister will host a press conference this afternoon, while the Health Secretary Sajid Javid is due to reveal the plans to Parliament.

What is he expected to say?

According to statements from Downing Street the decisions around unlocking are made based on four tests – the vaccine rollout’s success, a reduction in hospital admissions and deaths, whether infection rates risk a surge in admissions, and whether any new variants of concern are likely to throw England’s progress off track.

Boris Johnson was initially expected to announce that mask-wearing can be completely dropped, however in an apparent U-turn last Monday he said that it would be a personal choice to wear a face covering.

It is likely people in England will still be expected to wear masks indoors and in enclosed spaces, said Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday.

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