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Now is the 'best time' to ease Covid restrictions or 'we'd be in a semi-permanent lockdown'

19 July 2021, 10:25 | Updated: 19 July 2021, 10:26

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says lifting restrictions ahead of the summer was the right time, 'otherwise, we'd be in a semi-permanent lockdown.'

Answering a question from an LBC listener during the regular monthly Call the Cabinet show, Mr Kwarteng warned Covid "isn't going to go away, we have to learn to live with it."

Today marks so-called "freedom day" in England when most remaining legal coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

After months of pandemic-related constraints, the country has finally reached the last step in the Government's unlocking road map.

Mr Kwarteng said it was right to open now, and the difference between "today and January" was that the country has a "largely successful vaccine rollout."

He told LBC this meant there was "much more protection against the virus than in January."

But, he also asked "if we don't lift restrictions, then when are we going to? Because the virus isn't going to go away."

The Business Secretary said the public would have to "learn to live" with Covid.

He said lifting restrictions "ahead of the summer" was "the best time, because otherwise, we would be in a semi-permanent lockdown."

Today marks the day social distancing limits are largely over, with no more "rule of six" and "one metre plus" restrictions.

Groups of more than six people from multiple households will be able to hang out indoors and outdoors.

Businesses will reopen, including shuttered nightclubs who can welcome party-goers back to dance floors.

Legal limits on mourners at funerals and those celebrating weddings will also end, as will school bubbles.