- The UK government has announced easing of almost all COVID-19 restrictions.
- Experts have sounded alarm on Britain’s unlock strategy, calling it a threat to the world and a potential ground for the emergence of COVID-19 variants that are resistant to vaccines.
- British PM Boris Johnson is under a 10-day quarantine after COVID-19 contact.
The British government has lifted almost all the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move has been slammed by many due to increasing number of daily infections in Britain.
What is allowed as per Britain’s new unlock strategy?
Few of the aspects of the new unlock strategy are:
- No restriction on the count of people at any gathering, including concerts, sports events, weddings, and funerals.
- Face masks not mandatory anymore, as it is only ‘recommended’ now.
- Nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants can host guests; no longer table-service only.
- All kinds of communal worships can be conducted.
- All restrictions on travel within England have been lifted.
Clearly, with the new unlock strategy, the government has attempted to shift the onus to the people. While nothing is legally restricted, every COVID-19 safety norm is ‘recommended.’
It seems that the government wants its people to make wise decisions related to their day-to-day activities and thus, protect themselves from the infection through informed choices.
What may have led to this decision?
The UK government believes that its vaccination drive has built a wall against the COVID-19 infection that will protect its citizens from getting severely affected.
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As per data from the Public Health England, more than 46.31 million people had been given a first dose and 36.09 million had been given a second dose by the end of 18 July 2021.
The government also aims to offer both the doses to the entire adult population by mid-September.
Britain’s unlock & its repercussions
Taking the present facts and figures into consideration, field experts have warned against the emergence of new variants and its outbreak following the unlock in Britain.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself is under self-isolation for 10 days after coming in contact with a positive coronavirus case. However, the PM stated that he was doing so as it was ‘recommended.’
The COVID-19 situation in Britain also does not justify the government decision of an absolute unlock.
On 18 July 2021, over 48,000 new cases were reported. In the last seven days, 316,691 people tested positive for COVID-19, marking an increase of 43.3% from the previous week.
Also, there has been a rise in the number of deaths due to COVID-19. In the last seven days, 283 people lost their lives within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, 39.4% higher than the previous week.
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Can it hit other economies adversely?
Given the rapid mutations, the COVID-19 virus knows no boundary. Any decision, such as Britain’s absolute unlock move, that may cause a surge in the number of positive cases, is going to impact one and all.
Therefore, even though Britain sees its plans to lift lockdown restrictions as an aware and cautious way forward to breathe new life into the economy amid the pandemic, the decision has invited criticism from scientists across the globe. It is being referred to as a dangerous move for the entire planet.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been just around 31,000 cases in Australia. Still, unlike the UK government, the existing lockdown restrictions have been extended for at least another two weeks till 30 July 2021 as a measure for prevention against the virus. However, allowing unrestricted and unchecked movement in any part of the world will only add fuel to the flames.
With several concerns raised already, the UK government needs to ensure that its decision doesn’t become another reason fuelling a further hike in COVID-19 cases in Britain and across the globe.