Boris Johnson is facing a growing revolt over plans to end most coveted restrictions on July 19 – including mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in hospitals – as half of the public now say they want “Freedom Day” “delayed.
Last night, as doctors and others NHS Workers demanded that mask wear be continued in hospitals, regional political leaders broke the ranks, saying they would push the national government over the issue and strongly advise people to continue wearing masks in public transport.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has it Observer that with Covid cases rising rapidly again, “Freedom Day” risks becoming “day of fear” for huge numbers of vulnerable people because the government has made unimportant decisions.
“The government is simply wrong to frame everything from here as a matter of pure personal choice. It is not, “said Burnham.” Many people who are vulnerable to the virus have to use public transport and buy their food in person. Greater Manchester strongly encourages further masks to be worn in public transport out of respect for others. “
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is also involved in urgent talks with the government, Transport for London (TfL), private train operators and unions as support grows to make the wearing of face masks mandatory to remain in the transport network of the capital.
It is understood that Khan believes that the mask requirement for all modes of transport would be the simplest and safest measure. He said last week that the use of face masks would reduce Covid’s proliferation “and give Londoners crucial confidence to travel online, which is vital to our economic recovery”.
An opinion poll for the Observer found that 73% of people now believe the masks should continue to be worn in public transport, while 50% said that “Freedom Day”, when the vast majority of other checks were to end, should go beyond 19 July be pushed back. This compares with just under a third (31%) who think the government should proceed as planned. Only 10% think that restrictions should be lifted sooner.
Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid are expected to confirm their plans for a massive lifting of government controls on Monday, concluding social distances, allowing all places to open without restrictions on numbers and “work from home if you can.” Advice – despite Covid infections, which climbed to their highest level since early February last Friday.
But there are growing fears that the move will cause chaos, confusion and anger as more organizations and businesses go their separate ways and impose rules with the new relaxed government regime. Last week it came out that several restaurant and pub chains, including rare restaurants and City Pub Group, had planned to insist on mask wear and social distancing after July 19th.
Senior NHS figures raise fears about the impact of mask wear in hospitals, saying it means more infections, including among staff, and the backlog of non-Covid-related operations, which now number in excess of five million.
Government officials are already examining whether fully vaccinated NHS workers should avoid self-isolation to ease pressure.
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and NHS Trust, who served as Test Director in the Government’s Test and Savings Program, said: ‘We are all concerned about how we ensure that members of the public at large “We are already facing enormous challenges with Anhale and have no real means of enforcing it. It is a legal requirement now but people are increasingly refusing and are fully asserting it.”
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said a combination of self-isolation, growing pressure from infections and accumulated staff layoffs since the start of the pandemic could create problems this summer. “A Confidence [is] predict a 20% total absence in three weeks, resulting in 900 lost operations, “he said.” The Delta variant, now the dominant variant, is 60% more transferable than the Alpha variant, first identified in Kent. The risk of nosocomial infection – patients and staff receiving Covid-19 in healthcare facilities – is therefore higher. “
Ministers have also been contacted by unions, who have warned business workers about the threat to their health from the end of masked wear rules, with concerns that key workers, often in low-paid jobs, are at greatest risk.
The world bless you Organization (WHO) is becoming increasingly vocal about the dangers of government plans. While not referring to the prime minister by name, Maria Van Kerkhove, the Covid-19 technical leader of the WHO, said that the disease allows itself to spread and infect others “by not consistently implementing proven actions that “Preventing infections, reducing the spread, preventing disease and saving lives is immoral, unethical and unscientific.”