Monday 12 July 2021 7:49 pm

Pressing ahead with Freedom Day is ‘irresponsible and perilous’, warns BMA

Boris Johnson confirmed this evening that the so-called freedom day will go ahead on 19 July.

Johnson announced that the next step on the roadmap out of lockdown will mean the end of the one-metre plus rule, mandatory face masks and limits on social gatherings.

Hospitality venues will be able to open in full and night clubs will be able to operate once again.

Responding to the Government’s announcement, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), called the decision “irresponsible, and frankly perilous.”

“In doing so, the Government is reneging on its own promise to be led by data and impact on the NHS,” he added.

“We do not accept that there is no good time to ease restrictions further. We have been clear that any relaxation should be dependent on the overwhelming majority of the population being fully vaccinated, ensuring they receive maximum protection and which would result in new cases being controlled,” Nagpaul added.

“Scrapping the remaining restrictions next week – when a significant proportion of the population will not have been fully vaccinated – will give this deadly virus an opportunity to retighten its grip; pushing infection rates up, increasing hospitalisations and people ill with long-covid, risking new vaccine-resistant variants developing, and putting more lives at unnecessary risk,” he warned.

Face masks

Nagpaul shared the results of a BMA survey, which found that 90 per cent of doctors think face coverings should remain compulsory on public transport, with another 75 per cent supporting mandatory social distancing on public transport too.

“The Prime Minister repeatedly emphasised this evening the importance of a slow and cautious approach, but in reality the Government is throwing caution to the wind by scrapping all regulations in one fell swoop – with potentially devastating consequences,” he concluded.