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Boris Johnson urges Britons to act ‘responsibly’ ahead of lockdown easing today

Coronavirus: Expert discusses new study on mental health

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The Prime Minister branded the lifting of lockdown rules a “major step forward to “freedom”. Under the new guidance, people will be able to attend outdoor attractions and self-contained holiday accommodation will be permitted too.

Mr Johnson said in a statement: “Monday is a major step forward in our roadmap to freedom as venues such as shops, hairdressers, nail salons, outdoor attractions, and pubs and restaurants open once again.

“I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed.

“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said on Sunday the public must comply with the measures in place in order to avoid a major “rebound” in infections.

He told Times Radio: “The watchword has got to be caution really.

“The modelling, which is now pretty good, does show that we can expect some kind of rebound – it’s not clear exactly when or how big it will be, but there is, I think, inevitably going to be a bit of a rebound in the number of cases when things are relaxed.”

Prof Horby, who advises the Government, said the vaccination drive will lower the number of hospitalisations and deaths but will not entirely eradicate the risk of transmission.

“I think we can be joyful and enjoy the freedoms but we’ve still got to realise there’s still a large number of people who’ve not been infected or vaccinated and so they will be at risk.”

From today, people will be able to visit libraries, community centres and other public buildings.

Gyms and swimming pools will also be allowed to reopen under rules that mean gym-goers can only work out if alone or with their household.

The lifting of lockdown restrictions comes despite criticism from scientists who accused ministers of failing their duty to “follow the data, not dates”.

Dr Griffin hit out at the Government over its apparent breach of the promise to base its decisions on data.

He said: “It’s worrying. They are saying one thing and doing another – again. “There are far too many virus hotspots and not enough attention being paid to controlling infections that might spread from them.”

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