‘Freedom Day’ in England: looking back on the weirdest moments of the Covid pandemic as restrictions end
Some 14 months on from when coronavirus restrictions have finally come to an end in England, with 19 July ‘freedom day’ marking the first step in the return to normality.
While the restoring of freedoms has been a long-time coming, this final stage of lifting restrictions hasn’t been quite the celebratory day we’ve all been hoping for. Removing restrictions comes fraught with warnings to continue life with caution, to maintain the wearing of face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces, and to be mindful of mingling too closely with the vulnerable. Professor Chris Whitty has warned the UK is far from being out of the woods yet and with coronavirus cases still rising, it is expected that hospitalisation will surge over the coming weeks. But the vaccination programme does offer some hope in keeping cases under control and allowing the freedoms restored on 19 July to be enjoyed. As we move into this next unpredictable phase, here’s a look back on some of the weirdest, sometimes wonderful, and downright surreal moments that we have faced over the course of the pandemic.