Brits SHOULD wear face masks indoors after July 19 Freedom Day, says vaccines minister

BRITS will be "expected" to wear masks in indoors and enclosed spaces, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed today.

Face coverings will no longer be mandatory from July 19 once all Covid curbs are lifted.

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Boris Johnson is expected to confirm tomorrow that all remaining restrictions will be lifted on Freedom Day.

Last week, the PM said masks would become a "personal choice" as he tore up laws making them a legal requirement on buses, trains, and in shops and other indoor venues.

But new guidance to be published on Monday will advise people to wear masks in crowded, indoor settings, Mr Zahawi told Sky News.

Mr Zahawi said: "I think it is important that we remain cautious and careful and the guidelines that we will set out tomorrow will demonstrate that.

MASK CONFUSION

"Including guidelines that people are expected to wear masks in indoor, enclosed spaces."

Mr Zahawi added he's "confident" the country will move to the next stage of lifting coronavirus restrictions next week.

Meanwhile, national statistician Prof Sir Ian Diamond, who sits on SAGE, which advises the government, said surveys showed most people would keep wearing masks in some settings.

He told Sky: "We are seeing from our data…that the great majority of people are saying they would continue to wear masks in crowded places."

A poll by Opinium has found 50 per cent of Brits would prefer 'Freedom Day' to be delayed amid concern about the easing of restrictions.

Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs he was "very relaxed" about travel bosses enforcing mask-wearing on public transport.


But London Mayor Sadiq Khan is still considering making masks mandatory on the Tube and public transport in the capital.

And there are fears division among the public could lead to flare-ups on buses, trains and in shops.

A government source told The Telegraph last week: "We will still be encouraging people that it is probably sensible to wear a mask in a busy enclosed space.

“Although it is not legally required, it doesn’t mean people should not strongly consider doing it.

“You don’t have to wear them but if shops, pubs or restaurants demand that
you do, we will advise people to be mindful of that and stick to it because it
is their premises.”

It comes as masks will continue as a legal requirements in some settings in Wales while Covid remains a threat.


Face coverings will be compulsory on public transport and in care homes and hospitals.

The PM confirmed last week that Brits will no longer receive a fine if they don’t wear a face covering on public transport 

Mr Johnson wants to make it a personal choice rather than a legal requirement enforced with fines of up to £6,400.

But despite the rules being lifted businesses are expected to comply with guidance on Brits being advised to wear masks in certain settings.

CASES SURGE

Experts have warned this month's great unlocking could see infections could hit 100,000 a day.

It comes as cases continue to surge as the Delta variant of the virus accounting for 99 per cent of infections.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from the University of Cambridge, warned a "big wave" of cases was "inevitable" as restrictions are lifted.

Sir David told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "Unless tomorrow an immediate lockdown is announced – which I think is pretty unlikely – there's bound to be a big wave of cases coming up, absolutely inevitable.

"It was predictable right from the start of the road map announcement back in February.

"And I would guess that 100,000 a day is quite possible, and relaxing everything at once on July 19 will only make that more likely."

Cases rose by 32,367 yesterday, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 5,089,893.

And 34 more deaths were reported today, making the total 128,339.

There has been a 30 per cent rise in cases – and a 62 per cent rise in deaths – in the last seven days.

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