Week Ahead: 'Real Freedom Day' arrives as self-isolation rules change for vaccinated

The ‘Real Freedom Day’ has arrived while York racecourse welcomes back the return of the Ebor festival. Chris Burn looks into what is happening in the Week Ahead.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid alongside Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, during a visit to Milton Keynes University hospital as the Government prepares to further ease Covid rules in England. Picture: Jacob King/PA Wire

FREEDOM DAY PART 2

A key change in Covid rules is coming into place in England from Monday, in what some Tory MPs are dubbing the ‘Real Freedom Day’ following the lifting of social distancing restrictions on July 19.

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People who are fully vaccinated will longer have to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone who has coronavirus in a move Ministers hope will end the so-called ‘pingdemic’ under which those who have been identified as the contact of a positive case are asked to spend 10 days in quarantine.

Under the new guidance, someone who comes into contact with a positive case will instead be advised to wear a mask and reduce their contact with others.

They will be advised to take a PCR test, but that will not be compulsory and they will not have to self-isolate while they wait for the result.

If someone develops symptoms of the virus, the Government says they should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and stay in isolation until the result comes back.

The new guidance will apply to people who had their final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before coming into contact with a positive case.

People who test positive will still be legally required to self-isolate.

The Department of Health said that due to the fact even the double-jabbed are still at risk of being infected, contacts will be advised to consider other precautions like wearing a mask in enclosed spaces and limiting interactions with other people, especially the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Monday will be “another huge step back towards our normal lives”.

He said: “Getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms, and from Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives by removing self-isolation requirements for double-jabbed people who are contacts of people with Covid-19.”

NUMBER CRUNCHING

It will be a busy week for the Office for National Statistics as it publishes a series of reports on the state of the nation’s finances.

On Wednesday, inflation figures for July and house price data for June will be published by the ONS and on Friday, it will reveal both Government borrowing figures and retail sales data for July.

UNDER STARTER’S ORDERS

Horse racing’s biggest meeting since the lifting of lockdown restrictions will see the human and equine stars of the sport head to York for the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor festival.

Four days of top class action begin on Wednesday on the picturesque and atmospheric Knavesmire with the £1m Juddmonte International - officially the best Flat race in the world.

The festival concludes on Saturday with the Ebor - Europe’s richest handicap - and Yorkshire looking for its first winner of the historic handicap since Malton’s Brian Ellison saddled Moyenne Corniche to victory in 2011.

JIM’S TRIBUTE

Harrogate-born actor Jim Carter will be on hand to pay a special tribute to a star of the past on Tuesday.

The Downton Abbey star is to unveil a blue plaque for Ronnie Ronalde in London.

The music hall and variety entertainer was a “siffleur” (whistler) and also yodelled and sang, and was a household name in the 1950s. He was born on August 17, 1923 in Islington and died in 2015. Carter will unveil a plaque at the house where Ronalde was born.

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