‘I will still wear my mask’ says Sheffield health chief whatever Freedom Day announcement sets out

Sheffield’s health chief says he will still wear his mask no matter what is set out for the end of restrictions on July 19 later today.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 2:06 pm

The Prime Minister is expected to tell people in England today that it will be left to their own judgement how they manage the risks of coronavirus after ‘Freedom Day’ later this month.

It is expected the public will be told to decide for themselves how they “begin to learn to live with this virus,” including if and where they wear face masks.

But ahead of the announcement, Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell said he will continue to urge the city’s residents to wear face coverings whatever is set out.

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"For what it’s worth I will continue to wear my mask and I would encourage Sheffield to do the same,” said the health chief.

"Yes of course personal responsibility matters but is that enough? What if we all choose to be personally responsible and not wear masks? Who knows how this may play out.

"I have been double vaccinated, as has much of Sheffield, but I can still carry the virus, I can still get poorly and I can still spread it to others.”

Scientists have voiced their concern about restrictions ending when cases have been rising nationally.

In Sheffield, 54 out of 70 neighbourhoods recorded an increase in rate of infections in the latest figures.

Mr Fell said: “What we’re seeing at the moment is the case rate has gone exponential, principally in 40 to 50-year-olds. But ‘long Covid’ remains a concern of mine as does variants emerging in the future that are vaccine resistant.

"We will still have responsibility for minimising transmission and protecting the health and safety of the most vulnerable.”

It has been suggested that from so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19 mask wearing will become voluntary, while social distancing in pubs and bars will end.

Latest figures suggest 86% of people in the UK have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine so far – however Mr Fell reported in late June that a “worrying” number of people in the city were not turning up for their second jab.