Éditorial: Boris Johnson has made the right call in delaying ‘freedom day’

Éditorial: Boris Johnson has made the right call in delaying ‘freedom day’
Éditorial: The British people have been remarkably resilient in the way they have accepted the disruption to their daily lives, and now sense that the country is on the last lap of this race

jet was the announcement Boris Johnson never wanted to make: a departure from his roadmap for ending coronavirus restrictions in England. Although he has not gone into reverse gear, he told a Downing Street press conference le lundi: “Now is the time to ease off the accelerator.”

The prime minister said it was a “very difficult choice” to delay the fourth and final step in the lifting of restrictions from 21 June to 19 juillet. But he had no alternative because of the worrying spread of the Delta variant first identified in India, qui représente désormais 96 per cent of cases in the UK. Hospital admissions have risen by 50 per cent in a week, and by 61 per cent in the northwest. His scientific advisers had warned that thousands of preventable deaths would occur if step 4 went ahead as planned next week, with hospital admissions rising to a level not seen since the peak in March last year.

Ending all restrictions now would have made a nonsense of Mr Johnson’s “data, not dates” mantra. Two of his four tests have clearly not been met – on the risks of new variants, and of putting “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS.

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