Johnson Says UK Must Live With Virus As He Announces Easing

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at St Paul's Cathedral, London. Monday July 5, 2021, ahead of the NHS service of commemoration and thanksgiving to mark the 73rd birthday of the NHS. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP)

(AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil plans to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing in England in two weeks’ time. The move comes despite surging infections driven by the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Johnson said he would set out Monday how the country would “learn to live with this virus.” That’s a major shift in tone from a leader who has previously painted COVID-19 as an enemy to be defeated. Johnson signaled that mandatory measures would be replaced by personal choice after July 19, the date dubbed “freedom day” by Britain’s populist press. But public health officials and scientists have urged caution, saying ditching masks and social distancing altogether could be dangerous.


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