Boris Johnson on Monday. | POOL

2

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the wearing of masks will cease to be a legal requirement in England. The prime minister said on Monday that this requirement and social distancing rules will be scrapped at the final stage of the lockdown roadmap, due to become effective from July 19.

Johnson did offer a caveat by saying that there will be a review of the latest data on July 12. Nevertheless, it would appear that masks and distancing will go, as also will the rule of six inside homes and the guidance to work from home. Further information regarding travel, schools and procedures for isolating is to be given in the coming days.

The prime minister pointed to the success of the vaccination programme in observing: "If we don't go ahead now when we've clearly done so much with the vaccination programme to break the link, when would we go ahead?"

Even so, he added that new cases are predicted to rise to 50,000 a day later this month and that "we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid".