Freedom Day LIVE: Boris Johnson says Covid vaccine passports COMING & 'future life opportunities depend on vaccinations'

BORIS Johnson has been ordered to fix the 'pingdemic' that is forcing over a million people to self-isolate on so-called Freedom Day.

There are demands that Test and Trace isolation is immediately ditched for the double-jabbed as businesses face crippling staff shortages caused by the pinging of close contacts of those with Covid.

Tens of thousands are deleting the NHS app that pings close contacts of any positive case after a cases spike meant huge numbers, particularly in cities, were being forced to self-isolate at home despite no symptoms.

The pingdemic chaos threatens to dominate so-called Freedom Day, which got underway early as huge queues of Brits entered clubs at midnight for dancing, boozing and partying without any face masks or social distancing.

Meanwhile it was revealed today that millions of Brits are terrified of the inevitable case surge after Freedom Day, with 60% of those polled by YouGov saying they were "uncomfortable" with it, the Mirror reports.

73% of nightclubbers said they weren't ready to go back, 30% were too worried to use busses and trains, 59% won't go to large indoors events like concerts, 41% won't go to large outdoor sporting events, 35% are uncomfortable going to weddings and 43% won't go to the cinema.

Read our Freedom Day live blog for the very latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPHIC: UK COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS PER DAY

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    JOHNSON LOOSENS ISOLATION RULES FOR 'SMALL NUMBER' OF CRITICAL WORKERS

    Isolation rules will be relaxed for a "small number" of fully-vaccinated critical workers who are identified as close contacts of coronavirus cases, Boris Johnson has said after coming under sustained pressure over the "pingdemic".

    The Prime Minister on Monday resisted widespread calls to announce a more wide-reaching change to the rules to reduce the number of people in isolation, as he addressed the public from his own quarantine on so-called "freedom day".

    He described self-isolation as "one of the few shots we have got left in our locker", on the day he scrapped most remaining legal restrictions and defended the timing, despite cases soaring.

    But he warned nightclubs and other venues with large crowds must make full vaccination a requirement of entry from the end of September.

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    'CLARITY NEEDED' OVER VACCINE TRAVEL FOR IRISH PASSPORT HOLDERS FROM NI

    Politicians have urged the Irish Government to provide clarity on when people from Northern Ireland who hold Irish passports will be able to use the new EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC).

    The DCC was introduced in the Republic on Monday as part of a EU-wide scheme which will allow unrestricted international travel for those who are fully vaccinated.

    The documents can also be used for indoor hospitality when it reopens later this month.

    But most Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland will not be able to access the certificate at first because they were vaccinated outside of the Republic.

    Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said the DCC is only available to those who were vaccinated by the HSE, the Irish health service..

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    JVT: NOTHING REDUCES THE RISKS OF COVID OTHER THAN 'STANDING IN A MEADOW COMPLETELY ON YOUR OWN'

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam added: "Nothing reduces the risks to zero other than standing in a meadow completely on your own ad infinitum with nobody coming within three metres of you."

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    US WARNS TRAVELLERS AGAINST HEADING TO THE UK OVER 'VERY HIGH' COVID CASES

    American citizens have been warned against travel to the UK over spiralling coronavirus cases.

    The UK was placed on the highest level of the United States travel guidance – "Level 4: Very High" – on Monday, warning that even fully-vaccinated travellers could be at risk.

    The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued the update on the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended mask-wearing and social distancing laws, while reopening nightclubs.

    Americans were told to "avoid travel to the United Kingdom" but advised to make sure they are fully vaccinated if travel is essential.

    "Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants," the guidance added.

  • Joseph Gamp

    NEW WAVE OF COVID CASES IS ALMOST AT THE PEAK OF WINTER FLOOD OF INFECTIONS – BUT DEATHS SLOW, GRAPHICS REVEAL

    THE new wave of Covid cases is almost at the peak of the flood of infections during the winter – but deaths remain slow.

    Graphs shown during Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Freedom Day press conference today showed the number of Brits who have tested positive since the pandemic began early last year.

    A graph showed the three waves of coronavirus cases, with the first coming at the beginning of 2020, followed by the winter wave and then the current spike in cases.

    Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that Covid cases will continue to rise as restrictions have now been rolled back.

    He said today: "We are quite close to the winter wave peak and this is going to increase, and it will increase as we go further into step four. [There's a] very close overlap in cases increasing very similar to the autumn wave and the current wave."

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MICHAEL GOVE LED REVIEW INTO USE OF COVID CERTIFICATION

    Proof of a jab won't be needed to enter pubs and restaurants although individual landlords will have the power to insist on them.

    Cabinet office minister Michael Gove led a review into the possible use of Covid certification.

    The results, published in a report earlier this month, had appeared to kill off the prospect of such passports being used at all.

    It stated: "Having considered a wide range of evidence as part of the review, the Government has concluded that it will not mandate the use of COVID-status certification as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting at the present time."

  • Joseph Gamp

    CLUBBERS FLOCKED TO NIGHTCLUBS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS THEY OPENED FOR FIRST TIME IN 16 MONTHS

    Punters flocked to nightclubs across the country as they opened for the first time in 16 months last night. There are fears that the young are turning into a super-spreading generation that could derail staying out of lockdown.

    But on the other hand Boris is facing a strong backlash from the struggling hospitality industry with many venues on their knees.

    The PM has decided to put off introducing mandatory vaccine passports until all over-18s have had the chance to get both jabs.

    That means uni students are likely to be able to enjoy freshers week in clubs without having to prove their vaccination.

    But for most of the first semester they will have to provide Covid passports in a move it's hoped will help see off a winter wave.

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    MUSIC INDUSTRY BODY SAYS SMALL VENUES SHOULD NOT BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN SIMILAR SIZED HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES

    UK music industry body LIVE said small music venues should not be treated differently to similar-sized hospitality businesses over proof of vaccination requirements.

    Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, said many festivals and larger venues were already implementing some form of certification.

    In a statement, he said: "The Government has had several different positions on Covid certification in the last six months and we will need to see more detail before we can understand the full impact for the live music industry.

    "Many festivals and large venues are already adopting some level of Covid certification, and as responsible event organisers, will continue to do so.

    "What we are absolutely clear about, however, is that venues such as small music clubs should not be treated any differently to other similar-sized hospitality businesses such as bars and restaurants when it comes to the need for Covid vaccine certification."

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM EXPRESS CONCERN OVER 3 MILLION UNVACCINATED 18-30 YEAR OLDS

    The PM expressed concern that more than a third of 18-30 year olds – some three million people – still haven't taken up the jab yet.

    Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance added: "Right the way across the world we've seen nightclubs and venues where you've got lots of people indoors crowded together are a focus for potential super spreading events.

    "There's no question that is an environment in which spreading is easier, you've got lots of people quite close together, you've got the environment in which spreading becomes easier.

    "I would expect that with opening of nightclubs we'll continue to see an increase in cases and we will see outbreaks related to specific nightclubs as well.

    "And that's again why it's so important that everybody comes and gets a vaccine so we can reduce the chance of spread and we can reduce the chance of consequences of that spread."

  • Joseph Gamp

    YOU WILL NEED VACCINE PASSPORT TO PARTY AT NIGHTCLUB FROM SEPTEMBER, REVEALS BORIS JOHNSON

    You WILL need vaccine passport to party at nightclub from September, reveals Boris Johnson

  • Joseph Gamp

    YOU WILL NEED VACCINE PASSPORT TO PARTY AT NIGHTCLUB FROM END OF SEPTEMBER, ANNOUNCES BORIS JOHNSON

    Party-goers will have to be doubled jabbed to enter nightclubs from the end of September, Boris Johnson declared tonight.

    In a major U-turn the PM said vaccine passports will be needed to hit the dance floor in a bid to boost take up among 18-30 year olds.

    The PM made the announcement at a Downing St press conference amid fears not enough youngsters are getting the shot. Ministers are desperate to get as many jabs into arms as possible before self-isolation rules are eased on August 16.

    Boris said: "We're concerned, as they are in other countries, by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs. I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over 18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we're planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.

    "Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough."

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    WATCH: DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS NOW MAKE UP 60 PER CENT OF THOSE HOSPITALISED WITH COVID

    Double-jabbed Brits now make up 60 per cent of those hospitalised with Covid

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    PATRICK VALLANCE: 'THERE ARE HIGH LEVELS OF COVID AND THEY ARE INCREASING'

    The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there were "high levels of Covid and they are increasing".

    He said the UK was quite close to the previous "winter wave" of infections.

    He told the Downing Street briefing: "In the winter wave, we were up to around 60,000 people testing positive per day. We are now somewhere on towards 50,000. So we're quite close to the size of the winter wave of infections and this is going to increase."

    Discussing hospital admissions, Sir Patrick said it was "a somewhat different picture" as the numbers are expected to increase, although not to the same extent as before.

    "We do expect there to be over 1,000 people per day. Being hospitalised with Covid because of the increase in infections, but the rates should be lower than they have been previously because of the protective effects of vaccination," he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PATRICK VALLANCE: 'THERE ARE HIGH LEVELS OF COVID AND THEY ARE INCREASING'

    The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there were "high levels of Covid and they are increasing".

    He said the UK was quite close to the previous "winter wave" of infections.

    He told the Downing Street briefing: "In the winter wave, we were up to around 60,000 people testing positive per day. We are now somewhere on towards 50,000. So we're quite close to the size of the winter wave of infections and this is going to increase."

    Discussing hospital admissions, Sir Patrick said it was "a somewhat different picture" as the numbers are expected to increase, although not to the same extent as before.

    "We do expect there to be over 1,000 people per day. Being hospitalised with Covid because of the increase in infections, but the rates should be lower than they have been previously because of the protective effects of vaccination," he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM: OFFICIALS ARE WORKING WITH GLOBAL PARTNERS TO MAKE SURE VACCINES CAN BE MUTUALLY RECOGNISED

    Boris Johnson said officials were "working with partners around the world" to make sure vaccines can be mutually recognised.

    Responding to a question over why vaccines administered abroad were not being recognised in the UK, Mr Johnson said: "Obviously we're working with partners around the world to make sure that we understand the efficacy of their vaccines and have mutual recognition for all efficacious vaccines as fast as possible."

    England's deputy medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: "The point you're making is a perfectly reasonable one, that if you've had a good vaccine in another country, then that vaccine is going to be just as good for you and give you just as much protection as the vaccines we are giving people here in the UK.

    "And there is a great deal of awareness amongst my policy colleagues in Government about this, and there's a lot of work going on to sort this out. But it has to be done in a rational, careful way, and it has to be fair for all and we're working as hard as we can to get there."

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    JVT URGES PUBLIC TO GO 'CAUTIOUSLY AND GRAUDALLY'

    Jonathan Van-Tam is asked whether he thinks the country is "tearing the pants off it" already. 

    He says some crowded scenes are outdoors, with lots of ventilation and ultra-violet light, but others are more associated with crowds and alcohol.

    He says he wants everybody to go "cautiously and gradually" and a lot of people see rising case rates and "are worried – and I think they get it". 
    H

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    PM ADMITS ROADMAP IS 'NOT IRREVERSIBLE'

    Boris Johnson says the roadmap is "we hope irreversible but we can't guarantee that". 

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    THERE COMES A POINT WHEN RESTRICTIONS NO LONGER PREVENT HOSPITALISATIONS AND DEATHS, SAYS PM

    Boris Johnson defended the timing of lifting England's coronavirus restrictions despite the rising cases.

    "There comes a point after so many have been vaccinated when further restrictions no longer prevent hospitalisations and deaths but simply delay the inevitable.

    "So we have to ask ourselves the question: if not now, when?"

  • Joseph Gamp

    UK TO DEMAND VACCINATION PROOF FOR CLUBS & BIG CROWD EVENTS

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that he would make proof of double vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gathered from the end of September.

    "I can serve notice now that by the end of September when all over 18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we're planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather," Johnson said.

    "Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough."

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    PM: PEOPLE MUST ACCEPT INCREASING NUMBERS OF SELF ISOLATING PEOPLE 'A CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING WITH COVID'

    Boris Johnson said people had to accept that increasing numbers would be required to self-isolate "as a consequence of living with Covid".

    The Prime Minister, speaking from his own self-isolation in Chequers, said: "I know how frustrating it is for all those who have been affected or pinged."

    But people identified as contacts were "at least five times more likely to be infected than others".

    "Even if they have been vaccinated there is a significant risk that they can still pass the disease on. And so as we go forward I'm afraid that the continuing sacrifice of this large minority, those of us who have been asked to isolate, remains important to allow the rest of society to get back to something like normality.

    "I'm afraid that at this stage it's simply a consequence of living with Covid and opening up when cases are high in the way that we are."

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPECT TO SEE MORE VACCINATED PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL WITH COVID – PATRICK VALLANCE

    Boris Johnson says the number is "rising" but the vaccine is protecting people against serious illness. 

    Sir Patrick Vallance says around 60 per cent of people admitted to hospital have been double vaccinated, but "that's not surprising" because it is inevitable given the number of people who have now been vaccinated. 

    He stresses that they reduce the chances of catching and passing it on, but "slightly less effective" at preventing serious disease. 

    "Expect to see a higher proportion of people in hospital and catching Covid that have been vaccinated," he says. 

  • Joseph Gamp

    NO PLANS TO TWEAK COVID APP AS THOUSANDS ISOLATE ON ENGLAND'S 'FREEDOM DAY'

    The NHS Covid-19 app will not have its sensitivity tweaked, Downing Street has confirmed, despite industries warning of staff shortages as England lifts almost all coronavirus restrictions.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are among the hundreds of thousands of people currently self-isolating due to being alerted by NHS Test and Trace that they have come into close contact with a positive case.

    Hospitality, leisure, food production and retail sectors have complained of having to close premises or cut opening hours because of the number of people being told to stay home for 10 days after being in contact with a person who has tested positive.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber was among those to warn that "freedom day has turned into closure day" after the cancellation of performances of his West End show Cinderella.

    But the Government said it does not plan to reduce the sensitivity of the app to avoid people being "pinged".

  • Joseph Gamp

    BORIS JOHNSON DEFENDS FREEDOM DAY TIMING

    Boris Johnson defended the timing of lifting England's coronavirus restrictions despite the rising cases.

    He argued that not opening up now, with the "firebreak" offered by the school holidays, meant the risk of even tougher conditions in the colder winter months.

    Speaking at a press conference from his Chequers self-isolation, the Prime Minister said: "There comes a point after so many have been vaccinated when further restrictions no longer prevent hospitalisations and deaths but simply delay the inevitable.

    "So we have to ask ourselves the question: if not now, when?"

  • Joseph Gamp

    'WE ARE CLOSE TO WINTER WAVE OF INFECTIONS' SAYS PATRICK VALLANCE

    Sir Patrick Vallance says "we are quite close" to the size of winter wave of infections, and that step four is "a big inside mixing step" so it will go higher. 

    But hospitalisations are "a somewhat different picture", he adds, thanks to the vaccines. 

    "We do expect this number to increase – over 1,000 people  a day hospitalised – but the rate should be slower than it has been previously,"

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