Hugs to people close to you will be released in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (10), the first day without death from Covid-19 recorded since July last year.
According to the premier, “guidelines on how to find family and friends will be updated, and the public will be able to make informed personal decisions about close contacts, such as hugs.”
Recommendations on social posting will be announced next Monday, but Boris said that “thanks to the sacrifice of those who have closed their establishments and stayed at home” England is now entering a phase where “everyone will take responsibility for his actions, without the government saying what can and cannot be done ”.
“You just need to know that hugs are a way to spread the virus and determine if the person you want to kiss is in danger. Have you been vaccinated? Did you take both doses? Has there already been time to develop defenses? He said during the announcement.
When asked if he was eager to kiss people again, Boris replied that “whoever he kisses will do so with caution and moderation.”
With the pandemic gradually being brought under control in England, the government has announced the reopening of cinemas, theaters and hotels, and bars and restaurants will be able to receive customers in their lounges from next Monday (17).
Up to six people from two different families can meet at home, and outdoors, the maximum has been increased to 30 people.
The Prime Minister preferred not to answer a question from the public on when he would shake hands again – at the start of the pandemic, when Boris still downplayed the danger of Covid-19 and contagion measures, he said. declared in public that he shaking hands with each other ”. In that second, he only replied: “We will clearly detail the risks, and everyone will make their decisions.”
Boris said England’s move to a new phase of relaxation is possible as the country continues to meet the four established conditions: increased vaccination, decreased contagion, decreased hospitalizations and controlled variants.
The first country to approve the use of coronavirus vaccines and launch mass vaccination campaigns, the UK has already administered at least the first dose to 66% of its adult population (52% of the total population) and a third of adults have already taken both doses, which equates to more than 15 million people in England alone.
According to the British government, the country’s figures showed that a single dose of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine reduced symptomatic cases of Covid-19 by 55% to 70% and hospitalizations and deaths by 75% to 85%. Preliminary data shows a drop of up to 95% after the second dose of the vaccine.
With this, the country stood out from other major nations in Europe in the fight against the pandemic. Last week, its contagion rate was 15% that of Germany, the richest European country, and the death rate relative to the population was a tenth that of the German. The number of hospital patients, which reached 40,000 in January this year, fell to 1,152 last week.
According to English medical director Chris Witty, variants other than B.117 (identified in the English town of Kent) represent less than 5% of the total at the moment, but the government is closely following one of the highlights notified by the India, for B.1617.2.
Although only 520 cases of this variant have been sequenced in the country, that number has increased, according to Witty. Last week the UK government classified it as a ‘variant of concern’. WHO technical officer Maria Van Kerkhove said on Monday that preliminary information indicates that B.1617.2 is more contagious than the original coronavirus.
Despite the new easing, Patrick Vallance, Boris Johnson’s chief scientific adviser, said it was too early to say whether this was the last lockdown in England: “By mid-June we will have a better idea the impact of these measures. . But we know vaccines have a big impact. Things are going in the right direction ”.
The British government has said it does not rule out a boost in vaccination against Covid-19 next fall in the northern hemisphere (from September).
As summer approaches, other European countries have also started to ease their restrictions on movement and social contact, although their vaccination campaigns are still lagging behind the British and their number of Covid-19 cases. and death, much higher.
Ireland announced on Monday that it will reopen non-essential stores and, from June 2, hotels and guest houses. All pubs and restaurants will be open-air from 7 June.
The Irish government’s target is for 80% of people to receive their first injection by the end of June – so far, that proportion is 26%.
Germany released last week and this weekend Spain ended its state of emergency and Belgium reopened bars and restaurants closed since last year.