The prospect of ‘freedom day’ for the U.K. on Monday 19th of July has been long in coming and should be greeted with universal jubilation. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are likely to have slightly different dates, as they exercise their devolved powers, arguably more to do with politics than the science and creating divisions where there should be none.

With two-thirds of all adults and an extremely high percentage of all vulnerable groups now vaccinated, the highest rate of any large country, the eyes of the world will be on the UK and watching closely how the population and the virus responds.

If the UK can’t successfully lift its lockdown measures with 66% of adults vaccinated and that percentage increasing on a daily basis, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can even consider such measures.

As restrictions have been gradually eased over the last few months, as expected, the transmission level of the virus has increased. However, the protection offered by the vaccine has clearly broken the link between infections, serious illness, and hospitalisations. Lives have been saved by the lockdowns allowing time for vaccines to be developed and administered and the NHS has been protected, but at a huge cost to our society and economy.

Freedoms that took centuries to gain were taken away in an unprecedented period in our democracy. As Boris Johnson said when announcing the lifting of all mandatory lockdown measures “If not now, when?”

MP Andrew Bridgen

The fact that so many siren voices are heard warning that it is too soon to release the population from coronavirus restrictions is to be expected. Throughout the pandemic the dire predictions of many of the experts have not come to pass, perhaps some of them are working on the basis that ‘If you say every morning that it’s going to rain, one day you will be right.’

If the aim of vaccination is to create a population resistant to the worst ravages of the coronavirus then transmission and resultant acquired immunity within the remaining unvaccinated population, who are least at risk of serious harm, will only expedite that goal.

I have been surprised at the declared public support for ongoing restrictions and of course for those who still wish to continue to isolate themselves they are free to do so.

Sadly, people will still die ‘with Covid’ as they have died with dozens of other diseases throughout human history. We have to learn to live with the virus as we cannot have a society where no one is allowed to die of coronavirus, but no one is allowed to live either.

Back to normal on Monday in the UK? No, but the beginning of the return of faint facsimile of it and hope for the whole world.

Read also: Andrew Bridgen MP: Vaccine passports will create a two-tier society


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Andrew Bridgen is a Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.

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