Boris Johnson to “Tone Down Freedom Day Rhetoric”

We have almost reached July 19th, yet we appear to be moving further away from what we once considered to be ‘normal’ (just look at the reappearance of plans for vaccine passports). It’s no wonder that the Prime Minister is toning down the “Freedom Day” rhetoric. The Guardian has more.

The final decision about July 19th will be taken on Monday morning, based on modelling from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) about Covid cases and pressures on the NHS.

The Prime Minister still believes it is “now or never”, with a later reopening potentially posing even higher risks as cases could peak as children return to school and winter looms.

Two Whitehall sources told the Guardian that ministers had been spooked by internal polling. One said the data showed just 10% of the public support the policy of scrapping all restrictions at once, while another said substantially more people believed the Government was moving too quickly than at the last reopening step on May 17th. These accounts were denied by Number 10.

A cabinet minister said the Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s admission that there could be 100,000 new Covid cases a day over the summer had raised eyebrows among some colleagues. Medical advisers were fighting a rearguard action to slow down the reopening plan, they added.

Government sources conceded that while Johnson had warned the public at last Monday’s press conference not to be “demob happy”, his cautious message had “got slightly lost” as he announced the scrapping of all restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing. …

Several sources said the most likely outcome of Monday’s deliberations was for the Government to press ahead with July 19th but tone down the “freedom day” rhetoric. One said it “would be political suicide” to U-turn.

Worth reading in full.

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