Covid news latest – Coronavirus rules end July 19 but winter ‘contingency measures’ may be needed if cases rise says PM

BORIS Johnson made a major covid rules announcement last night, outlining the ways in which the UK can get its freedom back.

The Prime Minister said that from July 19, covid face mask rules will be scrapped, with the UK switching to a voluntary system as we learn to live with covid as a simple fact of life.

However local councils and public transport providers may still insist upon masks being worn with the threat of fines for anybody who doesn't.

Pubs can return to normal with social distancing measures and enforced table service ditched, although individual pubs may well choose to keep their capacity smaller and stick with apps and table service for orders.

And the Government's order to work from home where you can will also be axed – but again, many offices are predicted to opt for flexible working in the future after proving popular and successful during lockdown.

The July 19 rule changes which come as covid infection rates soar in the UK but, crucially, hospitalisations remain low thanks to our brilliant vaccines rollout which has broken the link between infections and deaths

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest lockdown updates…

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    FRANCE AND ITALY ‘TO JOIN TRAVEL GREEN LIST THIS MONTH’

    France and Italy are among more than 20 nations set to join the green list of countries open to Brit holidaymakers, it has been reported.

    Stabilising Covid infection rates mean Brits could soon visit the countries without having to quarantine.

    It comes as holidaymakers have started to arrive in Majorca and Ibiza, just hours after the Balearic Islands, Malta and Madeira were added to the UK green list.

    Italy and France could join them before the end of the month, according to analysis by former British Airways strategy chief Robert Doyle, the Telegraph reports.

    He claims to have cracked the formula the government uses to decide which countries go on the green list to make his prediction.

    As well as the two Brit favourites other countries are Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Vietnam, Denmark, Slovakia, North Macedonia and the Czech Republic.

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    GRAPH: COVID VACCINATIONS IN THE UK

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    WHAT IS THE LAMBDA VARIANT?

    A new coronavirus variant that experts say is “deadlier” than the Delta strain has already ripped through 30 countries.

    Public Health England (PHE) states there are currently eight known cases of the C.37 variant, as of June 21.

    The variant is currently classed as “under investigation” and experts could then classify it as “of concern” once they have done a risk assessment.

    This will depend on how transmissible the variant is and how many cases have been detected.

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    JOHNSON EYES 'SUMMER FIREBREAK' AS OPPORTUNITY TO RIP UP LOCKDOWN RULES

    Boris Johnson has promised to tear up England's coronavirus regulations despite warning it is "very far from the end" of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Prime Minister has gambled on trusting the public's judgment and the "wall of immunity" offered by vaccines as he announced an intention to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and lift social distancing requirements.

    The so-called "freedom day" is expected on July 19, at a time when the Prime Minister acknowledged there could be 50,000 new cases detected daily.

    But Mr Johnson indicated that if restrictions were not lifted this month, taking advantage of a "summer firebreak" offered by improved weather and school holidays, then controls may have to remain in place until next year.

    At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson acknowledged the pandemic was "far from over" with cases rising "fairly rapidly".

    "There could be 50,000 cases detected per day by the 19th," he said.

    "We are seeing rising hospital admissions and we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid."

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    UNION CALLS FOR FACE COVERINGS TO REMAIN MANDATORY ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT

    Face coverings should remain compulsory on public transport after the end of the Government’s road map out of lockdown, a trade union has claimed.

    Unite, represents tens of thousands of public transport workers, claimed it would be “gross negligence” to end the requirement on July 19.

    Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Monday that face coverings will no longer be required in many situations from the so-called freedom day.

    Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “To end the requirement to wear masks on public transport would be an act of gross negligence by the Government.

    “Rates of infection are continuing to increase and not only does mask wearing reduce transmissions, it helps provide reassurance to drivers and to passengers who are nervous about using public transport.

    “The idea of personal responsibility and hoping that people will wear masks is absolutely ridiculous.”

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    WHITTY AND VALLANCE PLEDGE TO WEAR MASKS IN SOME SITUATIONS

    The Government's top scientists have pledged to wear face masks in some situations as Boris Johnson said they would become voluntary from July 19 across England.

    England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said he would wear a mask "under three situations, and I would do so, particularly at this point when the epidemic is clearly significant and rising."

    He told a Downing Street briefing: "The first is in any situation which was indoors and crowded, or indoors with close proximity to other people."

    He said he would also do so if he was asked by any "competent authority" and thirdly, as a "common courtesy" if others felt uncomfortable.

    The Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said: "I'm exactly the same in terms of mask-wearing."

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    NEW TRACING SYSTEM PLANNED FOR FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE

    A new tracing system will be introduced for vaccinated people, the Government has suggested.

    Announcements are expected this week on new measures to apply to those who are fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

    Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on the easing of lockdown measures in England from July 19 that a test, trace and isolate system that is "proportionate to the pandemic" will continue to be used.

    He added: "You will have to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to do so by NHS test and trace. We are looking to move to a different regime for fully vaccinated contacts of those testing positive and also for children."

    He said more details will be announced on Tuesday to "maintain key protections but remove bubbles and contact isolation for pupils".

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    MINISTERS DO NOT RULE OUT DOMESTIC VACCINE PASSPORTS IN 'A DIFFICULT SITUATION'

    Coronavirus health certificates will not be mandatory for entry to venues such as pubs, theatres and stadiums, but individual businesses will be permitted to use them.

    A Government review published on Monday also did not rule out the possibility of making the use of so-called vaccine passports compulsory if England faces "a difficult situation in autumn or winter".

    Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was tasked with investigating the potential use of certificates showing negative tests or immunity gained through vaccination or infection.

    The review found that while "there would be a public health benefit" it would currently be outweighed by the negatives, such as the burden on those who have not received two jabs.

    Their mandatory use will instead be kept "under consideration", while the go-ahead for the NHS app to demonstrate status was approved from Step 4 of the plans to ease lockdown, which is expected on July 19.

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    BRAZIL RECORDS 22,000 NEW COVID CASES AND 695 DEATHS IN LATEST DAILY TOLL

    Brazil registered 22,703 new Covid-19 cases and 695 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said today.

    The total number of cases in the South American nation has hit 18.79million.

    Brazil's Covid death toll now sits at 525,112 since the pandemic began.

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    MAPPED: THE FIVE AREAS WHERE COVID CASES ARE RISING FASTEST

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    CAPTAIN SIR TOM MOORE 'BACK IN THE PLACE HE CONSIDERED HOME' SAYS HIS FAMILY

    The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore has said he is "back in the place he considered home" after his ashes were buried in his family grave alongside his parents and grandparents.

    The Second World War veteran and NHS charity fundraiser's close relatives walked through a guard of honour made up of school children and organisations close to his heart to his final resting place in Morton Cemetery, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, on Monday.

    After the simple ceremony to say a "final goodbye" his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said her father was immensely proud to come from Keighley, adding "completely and utterly, I felt like this is where he should be and the local community would look after him".

    Mrs Ingram-Moore chatted and shared stories with those in the honour guard along with her sister Lucy Teixeira, her children, Benjie and Georgia, and Sir Tom's sons-in-law.

    She told the PA news agency: "It was a day of joy, honestly. But I didn't realise quite how emotional I would feel about it."

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    SAJID JAVID SAYS SCHOOL BUBBLES WILL END ON JULY 19 IN MAJOR BOOST FOR PUPILS AND PARENTS

    Sajid Javid says school bubbles WILL end on July 19 in major boost for pupils and parents

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    SAJID JAVID SAYS SCHOOL BUBBLES WILL END ON JULY 19 IN MAJOR BOOST FOR PUPILS AND PARENTS

    SAJID Javid has said school bubbles will end on July 19, giving a major boost to pupils and parents.

    The announcement came as something of a surprise as Boris Johnson and previously suggested the change would not be made until September and rumours had indicated a decision would not be made until later this week.

    The Health Secretary, 51, though told MPs: “That on July 19 it is our plan to remove bubbles and to end the requirement for early years settings, schools and colleges to routinely carry out contact tracing”.

    Mr Johnson had confirmed the policy would be ditched but did not give a firm date as to when this would happen.

    He set out the Government’s intention to “remove bubbles and contact isolation for pupils” as fears have risen about the number of ids being forced to stay at home.

    Read more here.

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    GRAPHIC: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

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    JOHNSON ASKS PEOPLE TO BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY AHEAD OF EURO 2020 FINALS

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged football fans and businesses to act "in a responsible way" as large crowds are expected to gather in England for the closing matches of Euro 2020.

    More than 60,000 fans will be allowed into Wembley for the two semi-finals and the final next Sunday and Mr Johnson was asked at a Downing Street press conference whether he was concerned it could cause a spike in transmission of coronavirus.

    Mr Johnson said: "I think my advice to everybody would obviously be to support England enthusiastically but in a responsible way.

    "The events at Wembley clearly have particular conditions attached to them with particular testing requirements that we will insist on."

    The remaining knockout matches are set to take place at London's Wembley Stadium ahead of the July 19 easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

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    JOB WOES

    Up to 350,000 young people could be at risk of losing their jobs as the furlough scheme is wound down, according to the latest research.

    The 18 to 24-year-old age group were more likely to be furloughed during the pandemic than older adults, but that could leave them more vulnerable as support is withdrawn.

    The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that young people today could “bear the scars of the recession for years to come” without sufficient support.

    Research showed that in the first three months of this year, around 400,000 extra young adults weren’t working any hours.

    This figure reflects people becoming furloughed, unemployed or otherwise inactive.

    But just 50,000 more young Brits were unemployed at the beginning of this year compared to the end of 2019.

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    BORIS JOHNSON WARNS ‘CONTINGENCY MEASURES’ MAY BE NEEDED IN WINTER IF COVID CASES SPIRAL

    Boris Johnson warns ‘contingency measures’ may be needed in winter if Covid cases spiral

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    ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER ANNOUNCES PLANS TO MARK 'FREEDOM DAY'

    Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced plans to stage a special "freedom day" performance of his West End show Cinderella.

    The new production, which is being staged at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, opened last month with an audience capacity of 50% after the impresario rejected the Prime Minister's offer for the show to be included in the live events pilot scheme.

    All proceeds from an additional performance on July 19 – the day the Government hopes to end lockdown restrictions – will be donated to St John Ambulance and the NHS.

    Meanwhile, a gala show the following day will raise money for those whose work made the show's opening possible.

    Lord Lloyd-Webber said in a statement posted on Twitter: "Thrilled that at last theatres can re-open! In celebration, we are adding a Freedom Day performance on July 19th and have a Gala show on July 20th. All the proceeds from the extra show will be donated to the St John's Ambulance and the NHS, and the 50% extra seats we are finally allowed on July 20th will be donated to those whose work over the pandemic has made Cinderella's opening possible."

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    SCIENTISTS WARN ONGOING MEASURES NEEDED TO CONTROL RESURGENCE IN COVID CASES

    The Government has laid out plans to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and lift social distancing requirements despite scientists warning that ongoing measures will be needed to control a resurgence in infections.

    Documents released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Monday state that as current measures are lifted, transmission will "almost certainly increase", with modelling suggesting it is highly likely infections will peak at some point after Steps 3 and 4.

    One paper from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B) and Environmental Modelling Group (EMG), and dated April 22, says a package of "baseline" measures should be considered, as individual measures are likely to have limited impact.

    The document also says: "There is significant risk in allowing prevalence to rise, even if hospitalisations and deaths are kept low by vaccination.

    "If it were necessary to reduce prevalence to low levels again (e.g. VoC become more pathogenic for others previously less affected), then restrictive measures would be required for much longer."

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    WHAT IS THE LAMBDA VARIANT?

    A new coronavirus variant that experts say is “deadlier” than the Delta strain has already ripped through 30 countries.

    Public Health England (PHE) states there are currently eight known cases of the C.37 variant, as of June 21.

    The variant is currently classed as “under investigation” and experts could then classify it as “of concern” once they have done a risk assessment.

    This will depend on how transmissible the variant is and how many cases have been detected.

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    AMBER LIST UPDATE: VACCINATED BRITS TO FIND OUT THIS WEEK WHEN THEY CAN SKIP QUARANTINE FOR SPAIN & GREECE HOLIDAYS

    NEW rules which will allow fully vaccinated Brits to return from amber list destinations without having to quarantine are to be announced this week, the prime minister has confirmed.

    Holiday destinations including Spain, Greece and Portugal are currently on the UK's amber list, meaning Brits have to quarantine for 10 days when returning to the country.

    While it was hoped that the new rules could be introduced by July 19, the UK's "Freedom Day," government sources have warned this is too early for the amber list restriction changes, calling it "ambitious," the Mail Online reported.

    Instead, the new rules could be introduced from July 26, but won't be enforced until next month – half-way through the school summer holidays.

    According to The Times, it will more likely be introduced from August 2, with the government expected to sign off the rule change this week.

    Read more here.

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    FESTIVALS, NIGHTCLUBS, GIGS AND HOUSE PARTIES SET TO RETURN JULY 19

    Covid lockdown restrictions will be rolled back on ‘Freedom Day’ by Boris Johnson as the vaccination programme continues to roll on.

    Nightclubs and gig venues will reopen on July 19 – and there’ll be no need for Covid tests or proof of jabs.

    Social distancing will be scrapped, meaning drinkers will once again be able to get served at a bar.

    Meanwhile house parties and large music festivals will once again be allowed, just in time for summer, the Sunday Times reported.

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    COVID VACCINES WORKING AS CASES RISE BUT DEATHS STAY LOW – AS BRITS URGED TO GET JABBED AS LINK NOT ‘COMPLETELY BROKEN’

    CORONAVIRUS vaccines are working even though cases are on the up, Sir Patrick Vallance said tonight.

    The government's chief scientific adviser urged Brits to get their jab as the vaccine helps to "break the link" between cases, deaths and hospitalisations, but highlighted that it doesn't completely stop the virus.

    Today it was reported that UK daily Covid cases have more than doubled in just two weeks as 27,334 infections were recorded.

    Despite the surging numbers, just nine coronavirus deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

    Today's daily death figure brings the grim toll in Britain to 128,231.

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    SLIDE: THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID IN THE UK

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    MILLION OF VACCINES ROLLED OUT TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM COVID, SAYS BORIS AS HE HAILS RETURN TO NORMAL LIFE

    Millions of vaccines have been rolled out across the UK to protect people from Covid and the Prime Minister announced this evening that everyone under 40 could now get their second jab eight weeks after their first.

    The PM said the aim is that "everyone over 18 should be double jabbed by the middle of September".

    He said this is on top of the autumn programme of booster jabs for the most vulnerable.

    Mr Johnson said this evening: "We will move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus."

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