Remember the time when we used to go out without worrying about masks? Or when social distancing was not a thing? Well, that definitely feels like a lifetime ago. Almost two years ago, the novel coronavirus invaded the globe, changing the definition of normal.
But, just yesterday, the announcements made by the British Prime Minister made us see a ray of hope that life will go back to normal. But were the decisions made right? Just yet?
In a virtual press conference in London on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plans to relax and end most of the legal restrictions imposed by the British like face masks while stepping out, social distance to name a few by the end of July.
Johnson explained that “We are lifting most of England’s legal restrictions against COVID-19 but the responsibility now lies on the wise decisions made by citizens to keep themselves safe.”
This news came as a shock too many as the United Kingdom is seeing a surge in the COVID-19 cases from the highly transmissible delta variant, which is concerning. The prime minister explained that his initial plan was to reopen fully without restrictions on June 21st itself, but he had to take a step back and push the date because of this new contagious variant from India. However, he said that a complete and firm decision will be made only after examining the covid data of the country next week.
If this decision is further implemented, Britain is the country that has come closest to a normal pre-pandemic life after facing devastation as a country. The execution will lift rules like compulsory use of face masks and practices like social distancing at the onset. The relaxations further include nightclubs to reopen and concerts, theatres, and stadiums to function with full capacity. Work from home will be completely lifted and offices can go back to having all the employees working under one roof.
All this may cause panic in the citizens but Boris himself agreed that “the pandemic is far from over” and further said, “It will certainly be not over by 19th July but we must move ahead.”
Many agreed that this can be a dangerous move but it can be seen that all these decisions are backed by the prime minister of the UK mainly because of their massive vaccination across the country. The country enjoys one of the highest vaccination ratios and as of today, 45 million adults or nearly 85% of the British population have taken their first dose of the vaccine, and 65% of the adult population of the UK are fully vaccinated against the virus.
While the ratio of people who are armed against the virus with the help of vaccines is fascinating and assuring, the delta variant is still a huge threat to Britain and the rest of the world. These decisions however gave a chance to opposition for a lot of backlashes as they believed that “lifting all the rules in one ago with a contagious variant ready to attack” is completely reckless and asked for a more “balanced approach” and a step-by-step revision of rules.
Knowing what can lie ahead of him, the PM, in defense of his decisions, said that we have to
“We have to balance the risks.”. “The risks caused by the disease are very far from eliminated but the risks of continuing with restrictions cause the same damage when it inevitably takes a toll on people’s lives and livelihoods.”
This decision to relax the restrictions is exactly in the middle of a way with huge risks at one end and normal life at the other corner. Though backed up by solid defenses on one side and huge risks on the other, we will have to only wait and see what is in store for the United Kingdom if the relaxations are put into action on the 12th of July.