Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference, London, June 14, 2021. - Copyright JONATHAN BUCKMASTER / POOL / AFP
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government could fully lift restrictions, including social distancing rules and mask requirements, by 19 July even as cases and hospitalisations rise in the country.
Johnson said the government planned to let people decide for themselves how to deal with their social contacts and not reimpose restrictions even though the pandemic is "far from over".
"If we canít reopen our society in the next few weeks...then we must ask ourselves when will we return to normal," Johnson said of those who recommended delaying reopening.
The UK prime minister said vaccines had helped in reducing mortality and disease but have not eliminated COVID-19.
UK officials added that one in 210 people were now infected with COVID-19 and that the country was facing an increase in infections.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UKís chief scientific adviser, said that deaths were increasing at low levels and would further increase.
Johnsons said the country should "reconcile ourselves sadly to more deaths from COVID."
The UK recorded 27,334 infections on July 5 and 358 people were admitted to hospital due to the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
This comes despite high vaccination rates in the population.
About 86% of the adult population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 64% have received two doses.