(July 14, 2021) UK Charities warn that shift on 19 July to ‘personal choice ‘on virus precautions is instilling fear in many most at risk, reports the Guardian in a July 13 article End to Covid rules for England ‘leaves 3.8m vulnerable people feeling abandoned.
On July 19, virtually all legal restrictions will be lifted, reports the BBC. The legal requirement to wear face coverings in some enclosed public places will be removed, “expected and recommended” in crowded indoor areas. Nightclubs will also be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020. Capacity limits will be removed for all venues and events. There will no longer be any limits on how many people can meet and the 1m-plus distancing rule will be removed.
But UK charities warn cancer patients, disabled people and other clinically extremely vulnerable groups say they will feel unsafe stepping the house after hearing that mask and social distancing requirements are to be abandoned,” the Guardian says.
Many vulnerable groups, the elderly and those with underlying conditions were prioritized for vaccination, but those with compromised immune systems are feeling anxious about their fate.
“Macmillan Cancer Support is hearing huge anxiety about the removal of restrictions at the same time as cases are rising very fast,” said Steven McIntosh, Macmillan’s executive director of advocacy and communications told Natalie Grover, science correspondent for the Guardian. “Cancer patients feel they’re at risk of just going backwards, and feel unsafe stepping outside the house.”
“It was ‘very frustrating’, McIntosh added, as the government had publicly confirmed its plans to discard almost all Covid social restrictions on 19 July but then released guidance for clinically vulnerable people only later in the evening, without consultation with the [UK charities] representing and supporting those individuals.”
He said: “The government hasn’t learned the lessons of the past where big announcements for the whole of the country about … changes to restrictions weren’t accompanied by advice for those people who are most at risk and most anxious about those changes.”
The BBC reported that the end of England’s lockdown rules on 19 July has been dubbed “Freedom Day” – but for some people, it’s becoming a day to dread.
“For us it’s not freedom day, is it?” Rosie Duffin, 74, from Fareham, in Hampshire told BBC reporters Joseph Lee & Francesca Gillett on July 6. “It’s ‘becoming a hermit day’ once again. It might be freedom for others, definitely not for us.”
The retired NHS worker has secondary breast cancer and is considered clinically extremely vulnerable. Although she’s been vaccinated, she says she was horrified when she heard that face masks may no longer be required. “It doesn’t make sense really, does it?” she says.
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