Face masks, social distancing and 'Rule of Six' to be ditched on July 19 Freedom Day

FACE masks, social distancing and the 'Rule of Six' indoors are all set to be ditched on July 19, it has been reported.

Britain is said to be on track to lift all current restrictions for Freedom Day – despite recent reports that some measures would still apply.

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Ministers are encouraged by "very, very" low death numbers and a slowdown in infections, The Times reports.

And if the trends continue, social distancing and the Rule of Six inside will be lifted, along with limits on mass gatherings outside.

The Government is expected to confirm on Monday that July 5 is too early to lift restrictions, to ensure more people can get their second jab.

But a senior government source told The Times that ministers want to "get as close to normal as possible" on July 19.

The emphasis will therefore no longer be on laws and regulations, but on "personal responsibility".

It would mean face masks would no longer be mandatory certain spaces, replaced instead with advice for wearing them.

Work from home guidance is also expected to be dropped – leaving it up to employers and individuals to decide the best way forward.

It comes after Boris Johnson stressed this week that July 19's new Freedom Day was "looking good" Рalthough he refused to rule out further lockdowns if necessary.

On a visit to a Hertsfordshire lab the Prime Minister hailed science as the "great liberator" paving a path back to freedom.

And when grilled about the prospect of future lockdowns, he said: "You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven't budgeted for, or accounted for.

"But looking at where we are, looking at the efficacy of the vaccines against all variants that we can currently see Рso Alpha, Delta, the lot of them, Kappa РI think it's looking good for July 19 to be that terminus point."

His comments followed those of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who last week told MPs Freedom Day would not be delayed beyond July 19 – and face mask laws for public transport would be scrapped after that.

"The regulations themselves, we put this pause in affect by amending the expiry date, so they expire at midnight on the evening of 18 July.

"We also need to align the dates on several other Covid regulations which are essential for keeping us safe… for face coverings on public transport, the regulations which give powers to manage local outbreaks… and the regulations that give local authorities the powers to enforce Covid secure measures for businesses.

"These will all be extended until midnight on the 18 July.

"We don't want to extend these regulations a day longer than we have to."

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