Covid: Lifting all restrictions in one go is reckless, says Sir Keir Starmer

Lifting all coronavirus restrictions is “reckless”, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as most legal restrictions on social contact are eased in England.

He argued that some restrictions, including mask wearing in certain places, should remain mandatory.

The Labour leader also attacked the PM’s character saying it “causes chaos and his leadership causes mayhem”.

On Sunday, the PM said now was the “right moment” to remove rules aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

However, Boris Johnson urged caution, adding: “We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there – cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.”

From midnight on Monday nightclubs were allowed to reopen and limits on social contact were lifted.

Sir Keir argued that the prime minister’s “chaotic” leadership style is “dangerous” and has “deadly consequences for the country”.

He said because of Mr Johnson’s leadership and mistakes during the pandemic “people have died, more will do so.”

In addition to maintaining face masks, the Labour leader said guidance advising people to work from home where they can should remain in place and that buildings needed better ventilation.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise with 48,161 cases reported on Sunday and more than 50,000 on Saturday.

‘Playing the system’

Sir Keir also used his speech to attack the prime minister for his initial decision to avoid self isolating by taking part in a pilot scheme, which instead would allow him to take daily tests while continuing to go to work.

Mr Johnson and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak were contacted after Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for Covid on Saturday.

The two men had been in a meeting with Mr Javid on Friday.

Downing Street initially said the Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak would not have to isolate because they were taking part in the pilot, but this plan was quickly dropped, following criticism from the opposition that it represented “”one rule for them and another for the rest of us”.

Sir Keir accused the prime minister and chancellor of having “played the system”.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi denied the government had taken the public for “fools”, following Mr Johnson’s u-turn on self-isolating.

He said the prime minister had “talked about considering” taking part in the pilot scheme “then very quickly realised the right thing to do self-isolate because it sends a very powerful message to everyone.”

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