Freedom or folly? The end of England’s Covid restrictions

Today marks the first day in nearly two years that no laws will be in place in England to deal with the spread of Covid-19. But is the government still following the science?

All the remaining Covid restrictions in England will be lifted today. Instead of a legal requirement to self-isolate when infected, people with coronavirus will be simply advised to avoid passing on the disease. But the government is also removing financial support for those self-isolating, as well as winding down its expensive contact-tracing infrastructure and refusing to continue funding tests for individuals.

It is a moment that has brought celebration to many in Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, a large number of whom have long been stridently opposing every new restrictive measure designed to curb the spread of the virus. But as the Guardian’s Peter Walker tells Hannah Moore, not everyone is overjoyed at the news. Many on the Labour benches detect an overtly political motivation that they say has trumped a more cautious science-backed approach to living with Covid. While Johnson claims to be moving to end restrictions in England faster than anywhere else in Europe, Scotland and Wales are moving notably slower. Meanwhile, those who have in the past been deemed clinically vulnerable to Covid are now expressing anger and anxiety about what is to come.

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