- Title: England's 'freedom day' more like 'anxiety day' for the most vulnerable
- Date: 14th July 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 12, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EMPTY CLUB WITH SOCIALLY DISTANCED BENCHES IN (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-FOUNDER OF THE CAUSE, EUGENE WILD, SAYING: "I know what clubs mean to people, you know. It's escapism, it's where you meet people, it's where you fall in love, it's where so many important social interactions happen, and that's been taken away for so long. So having that back is going to be so important to a lot of people." SUFFOLK, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 13, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANTEE WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS, LUKE PETERS, READING HIS MEMOIR "COUGHING IT ALL UP" (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANTEE AND AUTHOR OF "COUGHING IT ALL UP," LUKE PETERS, SAYING: "It makes going into crowded spaces virtually impossible for people like me. So while everybody is looking towards Monday 19th July, the so-called 'freedom day' - the term that has been put out - it's more of an 'anxiety day' for many of us... and, you know, we're not just talking thousands of people here. We are talking 5% of the UK population."
- Embargoed: 28th July 2021 17:31
- Keywords: COVID-19 Coronavirus concerns government infections lockdown unlocking
- Location: LONDON AND SUFFOLK, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON AND SUFFOLK, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA002ELYB1VR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:As England's so-called "freedom day" draws near, excitement at the prospect of COVID-19 restrictions being ended is being tempered by concern about the consequences for case numbers and downright fear among the clinically vulnerable.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday (July 12) that England would move to Step 4 - the final stage of his roadmap out of lockdown which will end legal COVID-19 restrictions - on July 19.
That means that the last remaining businesses that are still closed under COVID-19 restrictions - such as nightclubs - can finally reopen.
Having been shut since March 2020, Eugene Wild, co-founder of The Cause club in north London, is throwing all his energies into re-opening at the stroke of midnight on the 19th but is anxious that it might not last.
Wild said he would be in favour of people getting tested before going clubbing, but was afraid that the industry might get shut down again - something he fears it would not survive.
In the Netherlands, nightclubs were open just for two weeks before they were closed again, while Israel has also had to reimpose some restrictions in the face of more cases.
Johnson has said he is reconciled to more deaths from COVID, but that a wave of cases was always expected when restrictions were eased and Britain's vaccine rollout has weakened the link between cases and serious illness.
For many of the 3.8 million people in the UK considered clinically extremely vulnerable though freedom day will be quite the opposite.
Luke Peters, an author and double lung transplantee with cystic fibrosis, said he felt as though "those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group have been largely forgotten about."
Peters began writing a memoir chronicling his life when he thought he might not survive his double lung transplant, which has left him having to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of his life.
While many relish the prospect of the so-called "freedom day," Peters said the prospect is more like "anxiety day" for people like him.
Having regained his physical health, Peters fears the lack of provisions for people like him means that he will likely have to stop enjoying any of the life he was hoping to once again enjoy with his family.
Critics say that the strategy will not only cause deaths but also debilitating long COVID in many while increasing risks to the clinically vulnerable.
However, some believe that public anxiety about restrictions ending might be the thing that protects the country from the worst-case scenarios in the next wave.
(Production: Natalie Thomas)
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