Why 'Freedom Day' still needs caution - The YP Says

The arrival of so-called “Freedom Day is less optimistic a prospect than Britain’s Covid-weary population might have hoped for. Infections and hospitalisations are both rising, and it is clear that the country is still a long way from seeing an end to the pandemic.

That is further underlined by the self-isolation of the Prime Minister and Chancellor, who have been “pinged” by the test-and-trace system because of their contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The rapid U-turn by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak on self-isolation yesterday, after the Government initially said they would face daily tests instead, was embarrassing, but necessary.

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The country would rightly have been furious if it had seen the application of one rule for them and another for the rest.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor, who are now self-isolating, were “pinged” by the test-and-trace system because of their contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Pic: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

But despite rising rates of infection, there are grounds for optimism as restrictions are relaxed.

The success of the vaccination programme in weakening – if not breaking – the link between catching Covid and becoming seriously ill holds out the prospect that a further wave of infections is unlikely to extract the terrible human cost seen earlier this year.

Caution must be the watchword as the country embraces its new-found freedoms.

Even though there is no legal obligation to continue mask-wearing, it remains prudent to do so, and the requests from shops and transport for that to happen should be respected.

It needs to be borne in mind that there are substantial numbers of people who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons, and are vulnerable. It is incumbent upon everybody to have their welfare in mind.

If there is to be no return to restrictions later in the year, Britain’s people must behave responsibly, sensibly and with consideration for others.