EXCLUSIVE: As England twists on the brink of ‘Freedom Day’, neither average Britons nor frontline heroes believe he is making an informed or correct choice – and that he is leading the country back to a dark place
Boris Johnson is being hammered from all sides about lifting all coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
When Health Minister Sajid Javid revealed that he has tested positive for Covid, scientists, doctors, politicians and ordinary people warned that the Prime Minister opened up too quickly.
Neurologist Dr. David Nicholl called for Freedom Day to be renamed “Freedumb day”. And a senior physician even bluntly said, “We are screwed.”
Johnson is urged to take an 11-hour Freedom Day turn when a nervous nation says to him, “You’re going too fast, too early.”
Researchers, doctors, politicians and voters united to warn the Prime Minister that the opening tomorrow risks a new closure, as cases are expected to hit 100,000 a day.
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A troubled senior medicine in the NHS put it bluntly, saying, “I think we’re screwed.”
And in a bad omen of what’s coming, double-jawed health secretary Sajid Javid, 51, tested positive for Covid today and isolated with “very mild” symptoms. It raised the prospect that the Prime Minister and his cabinet should also isolate themselves.
On Saturday, 54,674 new cases were recorded – the highest since January – with 41 deaths.
The independent SAGE professor Christina Pagel warned: “Openness is madness. We should not do that. ”
And Birmingham neurologist Dr. David Nicholl called for Freedom Day to be renamed “Freedumb day”. He insisted: “We need to get the number of people vaccinated. If we just waited a few more weeks, we could get the job done properly … I think we’re screwed. ”
An exclusive poll by the Sunday Mirror shows that more than four out of five people are not familiar with the solution of the rules and will continue to follow them beyond Freedom Day.
And nearly seven out of 10 will still hide in shops and on buses and trains, despite the order no longer being allowed.
It rises to 79% of over 65s. Freedom Day is most popular among the 25-34 age group with six out of 10 supporting the lifting of restrictions.
It goes down to 46% among 18-24s who are least likely to be jabbed. Only five out of 100 people think Monday will mark a return to normalcy, found Redfield & Wilton Strategies, which asked questions to 1,500 voters.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt fears England could be thrown back in the lurch in the autumn as cases rocket to 100,000 a day.
“The warning light on the NHS dashboard does not flash yellow, it flashes red,” he said.
And he demanded urgent changes to reduce the sensitivity of the NHS Covid app to stop people deleting it from their phones. Meanwhile, Independent SAGE warned that the number of current cases could actually be five times higher than official figures because only 20% of those with symptoms are tested.
Of concern is that more than half of the population is still not double-cast, and half of black adults do not yet have a first dose.
Dr Kit Yates of Bath University admitted: “At a time when we really need it, vaccination is slowing down.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth attacked the Prime Minister for not following science. He blasted, “Instead of caution, he pushes his foot down on the accelerator while throwing off his seat belt.”
Sir. Johnson has repeatedly said he wants lifting restrictions to be “irreversible,” but the tone changes in Whitehall to a caution as concerns grow. A senior government source said today: “The pandemic is not over. We need people to continue to pay attention and wear a face that covers in tight spaces. ”
Supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda say they will encourage customers to wear masks, but will not enforce it. The co-op said: “It is not our place to refuse to serve a customer who chooses not to carry one. It can be a hotbed of violence and abuse. ”
Public health professor Martin McKee said the public had been stunned by the Tories’ mixed messages. “Dominic Cummings’ description of the Prime Minister as a shopping cart that runs everywhere seems remarkably accurate,” he said. “It’s no wonder people are confused.”
As Britain opens up, other parts of the world are squeezing in as the more contagious Delta variant causes chaos.
In the Netherlands, cases rose 500% after restrictions were lifted last month in clubs, bars and restaurants. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for being too hasty. “We thought it was possible, but it was not,” he said. Bars are again only allowed to serve socially distant customers who sit and close at midnight.
Sydney is in lockdown again after an increase in cases, and there are increases in five U.S. states with low vaccination rates, including California.
In France, Covid passports are needed to enter restaurants, cafes and cinemas from next month.