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Face masks to become a personal choice in England, minister says

by Wanda Rich
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2021 07 04T080601Z 1 LYNXNPEH6302N RTROPTP 4 HEALTH CORONAVIRUS BRITAIN VACCINE

LONDON (Reuters) -The wearing of face coverings in England will become a personal choice and the data that will determine if lockdown restrictions can be lifted this month was looking “very positive”, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday.

“It will be a different period where we as private citizens make these judgments rather than the government telling you what to do,” Jenrick told Sky News.

Legal lockdown restrictions are due to be removed on July 19 under the government’s roadmap and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out details about the final stage of easing in England in the coming days, Jenrick said.

Asked if he would stop wearing a face mask if permitted, he said: “I will. I don’t particularly want to wear a mask, I don’t think a lot of people enjoy doing it, we will be moving into a phase though where these will be matters of personal choice.”

Johnson had hoped to remove final restrictions in June but his plan was scuppered by rising coronavirus cases, driven largely by the more transmissible Delta variant.

He said last week that although Britain’s vaccination programme had broken the link between infection and deaths, some precautions might have to remain beyond July 19.

Jenrick on Sunday said the data was looking “very positive”.

“It does seem as if we can now move forward and move to a much more permissive regime where we move away from many of those restrictions that have been so difficult for us,” he said.

“We’re going to have to ensure that every adult gets double vaccinated, because that is the key to keeping the virus under control as we move into the autumn and the winter.”

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Clarke)