BORIS Johnson has today begged the public for a “cautious” end to lockdown amid the “extremely contagious Delta variant.”
This comes after his shrieking U-turn this morning as he and Rishi Sunak tried to dodge self-isolation – causing an onslaught of political and public fury.
Boris Johnson has made a public plea as England gears up for Freedom Day[/caption]
Boris faced public and political fury this morning after declaring he wasn’t going to self-isolate[/caption]
In a video from isolation, Boris Johnson said this afternoon: “Like so many hundreds of thousands of other people across the country, I’ve been pinged.
“I’ve been asked to self-isolate by the Test and Trace isolate system, after I’ve been in contact with someone who has Covid, in this case of course, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
“We did look briefly at the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allows people to test daily.
“But I think it is far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules. That’s why I’m going to be self-isolating until July 26.
“I know how frustrating it all is. I urge everybody to stick with the programme and take the appropriate course of action when you’re asked to do so.
“The reason for that is tomorrow we’re going into step four, we’re doing a big opening up.
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“And that’s quite right. If we don’t do it now, then we’ll be opening up in the Autumn and Winter months when the virus has the advantage of the cold weather.
“If we don’t do it now, we have to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it. So this is the right moment.
“But we’ve got to do it cautiously. We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there. Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.
“But we have this immense satisfaction that the vaccine programme has very severely weakened the link between infection and hospitalisation, and between infection and serious illness and death.
“So please, please, please be cautious and go forward tomorrow into the next step with all the right prudence and respect for other people.
‘PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS’
“And above all, please, please, please, when you’re asked to get that second jab, get the jab, please come forward and do it.”
The ministers faced fury from the public after claiming that the pilot – which conveniently included Downing Street – meant they didn’t have to isolate.
But the decision was later reversed – and Boris and Rishi said they would indeed follow the rules after coming into contact with Covid-positive Sajid Javid.
The Chancellor admitted that the rules not being the same for every was “wrong” and that he and Boris would no longer be taking part in the pilot.
In the dramatic reversal, No10 said: “The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid.
“He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.
“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”
After facing intense political backlash, Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong.
“To that end, I’ll be self-isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.”
‘EXTREME’ DELTA VARIANT
Downing Street is not immune to the ‘Pingdemic’ currently ripping through Britain and halting workforces in their thousands.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday revealed he had returned a positive lateral flow and PCR test for the bug – as officials scrambled to work out precisely who had been in close contact with Mr Javid.
He was seen leaving Downing Street yesterday – fuelling speculation that the PM and other cabinet ministers would be ‘pinged.’
And as expected, Mr Javid’s list included Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – who were contacted by NHS Test and Trace today.
It’s believed there are more than two million people in self-isolation after the NHS app told 520,194 to stay home in just one week.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will now join the millions of Brits forced to be locked up inside on England’s ‘Freedom Day’ tomorrow.
Total unlocking is going ahead on Monday as planned – with social distancing scrapped, propping up the bar back on and double-jabbed Brits set to say “hola” to Spanish hols.
However, some will remain in place as we come to step four of the PM’s roadmap out of Covid shutdowns.
Masks are formally being ditched – but travellers on London’s Tube and in Ubers will still have to wear face coverings while using the services.
Meanwhile, those lucky – or brave – enough to be heading abroad are also likely to have to mask up, with BA, easyJet and Ryanair all insisting on coverings.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons and Waitrose say they’ll encourage shoppers and staff to keep up with their face coverings.
And double-jabbed Brits are allowed to travel to amber list countries without isolation – but that rule as shown to be volatile in recent days.
Holidaymakers returning from France, on the UK’s amber list, will have to quarantine on return regardless of jab status.
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And on top of that, there’s lots of anger out there about the so-called Covid contact ‘pingdemic’.
The NHS’s test and trace app is being blamed, with some claiming it’s simply too sensitive.
One in five hospitality and retail workers are self-isolating, while NHS hospitals are struggling with up 25 per cent of their staff off.