Daily new Covid cases could reach 100,000 by summer as restrictions ease, Health Secretary warns

Coronavirus case numbers could reach 100,000 per day in the summer as restrictions are eased, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

“As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers," he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mr Javid told ITV News the government was “going with the evidence” but added “case numbers, even after July 19, could double again”

It follows Boris Johnson’s pledge to end nearly all of England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions in one move despite, including mandatory regulations for mask wearing.

Lockdown rules in England: What's changing from July 19

What has happened to social distancing and the rule of six?

The 'one metre plus' rule has been scrapped entirely, as of July 19 in England. However, some guidance to maintain social distancing in certain situations will remain in place of the legal restrictions.

Social distancing guidance will continue if someone is Covid positive and self-isolating, or in airports, or other ports of entry, to avoid travellers arriving from amber or red-list countries mixing with those from green list areas.

Limits on social contact in England have disappeared, meaning the end of the rule of six indoors and the limit of 30 people for outdoor gatherings.

Do I still need to wear a face mask?

There is now no legal requirements to wear face coverings - but guidance still encourages using masks in some settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings and in crowded enclosed public spaces.

Has the working from home guidance changed?

The guidance on working from home has gone. It's ultimately down to employers to decide whether to keep staff at home or in the office, but the government say employers are able to plan the return of staff to the workplace.

What about weddings and funerals?

The current limits on numbers of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events has ended.

What's happening in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

The changes to Covid rules announced by Boris Johnson, only impact England and will not change regulations in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

The Welsh Government “would like to move together” with other parts of the UK in lifting coronavirus restrictions but will only do so if it is “right for Wales”, health minister Eluned Morgan said on Monday 5 July.

As of July 19, restrictions in Scotland have eased, with all areas of the country moving to level 0. The government is aiming to lift all major restrictions in Scotland by August 9.

In Northern Ireland, some significant restrictions have already been eased including allowing the resumption of live music and the lifting of caps on organised outdoor gatherings.

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Mr Javid said he would continue to wear a face covering in a crowded space or if he was with someone who felt uncomfortable about one not being worn, once restrictions are eased.

"It is right to move from rules to guidance and ask people to use their common sense," he told ITV News.

He added he would wear face masks “in a crowded or enclosed space with a number of other people."

"I will continue to carry one with me for the foreseeable future and I think that’s a very responsible way forward."

Labour criticised the Prime Minister’s plan to gamble on public responsibility and the immunity from vaccines and called for him to maintain protections such as mask wearing.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said he wanted to see a "balanced reopening of the economy."

"We want people to have their freedoms but we don’t want a high risk free for all," he told ITV News.

"We’re saying to the government, given we are on an upward trajectory with infections increasing, with hospitalisations increasing, and you’ve only got around 50% of the total public vaccinated…let’s maintain some precautions."

He called on the government to "keep masks on public transport, in the shops" and to support "businesses to properly ventilate and clean their air with air-filtration systems."

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