Despite the UK recording the highest number of new Covid-19 cases since January, from London to Liverpool, thousands of young people plan to dance the night away at “Freedom Day” parties the moment it becomes Monday.
England’s clubbers are treating the moment like New Year’s Eve, with parties, lots of confetti, and dancing – with most people planning to dance the night away as nightclubs reopen for the first time in 17 months.
The Associated Press is reporting that at the stroke of midnight – almost all COVID-19 restrictions will disappear. Gone are the requirements for wearing a mask, social distancing, and limits to crowds at theater performances or big events.
It’s “the moment we’ve been waiting for, that our customers have been waiting for,” said Tristan Moffat, operations director of London music venue The Piano Works.
The Piano Works has been losing about 40,000 pounds ($55,000) a month during the pandemic, and they are really keen to reopen, planning a “countdown” party of sorts tonight.
The statistics are sobering. Britain recorded 54,674 new Covid-19 cases Saturday — its highest daily number since January. More than 128,000 people across the U.K. have died from the disease, the highest death toll in Europe.
About 67.8 percent of adults, or just over half the total population, has received two vaccine doses.
The Financial Times claims the UK government, “which says a summer surge in disease is better than a winter one, insists people must learn to live with the virus and is offloading responsibility for managing the pandemic on to individuals and businesses.”
And an open letter signed by over 100 doctors and scientists published in the British medical journal The Lancet criticized the government’s decision.
“I can’t think of any realistic good scenario to come out of this strategy, I’m afraid,” said Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester. “I think it’s really a degree of how bad it’s going to be.”
Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, warned that “we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.” Johnson himself played down talk of freedom and stressed that life wouldn’t instantly revert to how it was pre-pandemic.
As it is, Prime Minister Johnson won’t be doing “business as usual” in London, anyway. The prime minister and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak were both alerted overnight by England’s test-and-trace phone app, and are now self-isolating, according to NBC News.
Johnson had a meeting on Friday with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Javid, who has been fully vaccinated, said he was experiencing mild symptoms.