Boris Johnson cancels plans to launch Churchillian Freedom Day – after emergency number 10 over a spate of infections
- Boris Johnson had planned a big speech to celebrate the lifting of the Covid rules
- Number 10 became anxious after Covid-19 infections continued to rise rapidly
- Yesterday the number of daily cases reached 54,674, with 740 hospitalized patients
- Scientists believe daily Covid numbers could soon reach 100,000 cases per day
Boris Johnson canceled plans for a Churchillian Freedom Day launch after No. 10 was alarmed by the rise in infections, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
Officials had been talking about marking the lifting of Covid restrictions with a rousing speech by the prime minister at a historic site linked to the war leader – until science advisers became concerned about the recent rise in cases.
Mr Johnson has abandoned his previously optimistic stance on lifting most restrictions tomorrow – including social distancing and legal restrictions on gatherings – and no longer calls the moment “irreversible”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has abandoned plans for a Churchillian victory speech tomorrow due to rapidly escalating Covid-19 infections
A government source said: “The intention was for Boris to effectively declare victory over the virus by evoking the spirit of Churchill, with the appropriate rousing rhetoric. That no longer feels appropriate.’
Despite the relaxation of the rules, official guidelines still advise that face masks should be worn in confined spaces such as shops and on public transport, while pubs and bars should only be served at the table.
Johnson published a biography of Churchill, writing that “he alone saved our civilization.”
Critics discovered an attempt to draw parallels to his predecessor when the Prime Minister described him as “a genius through and through,” although “too many Tories saw him as a principled opportunist.”
On Friday, the UK registered more than 50,000 daily cases of Covid for the first time since mid-January, and that number is expected to soon surpass the previous peak of 68,000.
Yesterday the number of daily cases reached 54,674, with 740 patients hospitalized and 41 deaths.
But vaccination rates are declining, with 67,956 people getting their first dose on Friday and 188,976 their second, with daily rates well below levels at the peak of the rollout.
The total number of people who have had both doses in the UK is now over 35.7 million – just under 68 percent of adults.
Former health minister Jeremy Hunt described the situation as “very serious” yesterday and raised the prospect of a new lockdown this fall.
Tomorrow morning most Covid-19 restrictions across England will be lifted, although governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are reopening at a slower pace
Former health minister Jeremy Hunt yesterday described the situation as “very serious” and said the prospect of a new lockdown this autumn.
Mr Hunt, who now chairs the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said if the number of cases continues to rise in September, ‘I think we’ll have to reconsider’.
He added that the NHS dashboard warning light is ‘not flashing amber, it’s flashing red’, although he admitted he was hopeful enough people have had the virus or vaccine for the country to approach herd immunity.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said he thought the current wave “will be quite long and tedious…my suspicion is that we’re going to get to high levels over an extended period of time.” of incidence look all summer and probably much of the fall’.
He added that with infections doubling every two weeks, the number of cases could soon reach 100,000 a day — something he attributed to the number of young people who have not yet been vaccinated.