Boris Holds His Nerve

In spite of a last-minute lobbying campaign by various SAGE panjandrums to postpone step three of the Prime Minister’s roadmap, most parts of the U.K. will be easing restrictions on Monday. In England, masks will no longer be required in schools, indoor drinking and dining will be permitted, fans will be allowed back into football stadiums (in limited numbers), foreign holidays will no longer be illegal and gatherings of up to 30 people will be permitted outside.

But Boris struck a cautious note on Sunday evening. BBC News has more.

People must continue to play their part in stopping Covid, Boris Johnson has said ahead of the easing of lockdown in England, Wales and most of Scotland.

From Monday, millions of people will be able to socialise indoors in limited numbers, hug loved ones and visit pubs and restaurants inside.

The ban on foreign travel will also be lifted and replaced with new rules.

But Mr. Johnson said everyone needed to still be cautious, and also get tested twice a week.

“Together we have reached another milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution,” said the Prime Minister.

He added that “everyone must play their part – by getting tested twice a week, coming forward for your vaccine when called and remembering hands, face, space and fresh air”.

“I urge everyone to be cautious and take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms today in order to keep the virus at bay.”

BBC News published a summary of the new rules two days ago:

Meeting up

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors and overnight stays can take place
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions and other life events
  • Number of people who can attend a funeral is no longer capped, but determined by the size of venue
  • Up to 30 are allowed to attend a support group or parent-and-child group (not counting under fives)
  • Care home residents can have up to five named visitors, and more freedom for visits out of the home
  • Social distancing guidance is also changing. Contact with close family and friends is described as a matter of personal judgement, but people are asked to remain cautious around close contact, like hugging.

Leisure and entertainment

  • Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers indoors
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
  • Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all reopen
  • Organised adult sports and exercise classes can restart indoors
  • Steam rooms and saunas may reopen
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen

At least Boris didn’t bottle it, in spite of the outbreak of mass hysteria among the public health “experts” about the Indian variant. (See Glen Bishop’s thorough debunking of SAGE’s 10,000-hospitalisations-a-day-in-mid-July claim in yesterday’s Lockdown Sceptics.) I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies, but, really, with the virus now posing less of a threat than an average bout of seasonal flu we should be reopening in full.

Stop Press: MailOnline has more on Boris’s remarks on Sunday night, but adds the detail that Tory MPs have urged the Prime Minister not to give in to “panicking scientists”.

Sir Graham Brady, a senior Tory MP, urged the Prime Minister not to “panic” over the new variant, which is still rare in the U.K..

And his colleague Iain Duncan Smith said it was “bonkers” to even consider further delays to reopening when evidence suggested existing vaccines worked against the Indian strain.

Worth reading in full.

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