Q&A: Everything you need to know about June 21

A group of scientists has written an open letter calling for restrictions including social distancin

It is hoped Covid lockdown restrictions can be brought to an end on June 21 - Credit: Simon Parkin

It has widely been labelled as 'Freedom Day', when restrictions on our daily lives designed to protect against coronavirus will come to an end. 

But, with the increasing spread of the virus' Delta strain, June 21 may not turn out to be as momentous as many of us are hoping

Prime minister Boris Johnson has hailed what he says has been a 'truly national effort to beat' the virus that has allowed...

Prime minister Boris Johnson is keeping a close eye on the Delta variant of the virus - Credit: PA

Here's a look at all the key questions ahead of the government announcing its decision on Monday, June 14. 

What are the current restrictions?

As it stands, we are enjoying many more of life's freedoms than we were at the height of lockdown.

That includes meeting family indoors, going to the pub with friends and watching the latest blockbuster at the cinema. 

We can visit our favourite shops, go to the gym and even travel abroad to a select few destinations. 

A number of rules do remain in place, however.

Medical exemption aside, face coverings must be worn in the vast majority of indoor settings and social distancing continues to apply. 

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Indoor gatherings are limited to six people or two households, while outdoor gatherings can exceed no more than 30 people. 

Attendance at formally organised events, such as football matches and live stage performances, is capped according to the venue type and size, but nightclubs remain closed. 

Holidaymakers can travel abroad to countries on the green list. The government says people should only travel to destinations on its amber list in "exceptional circumstances", and only to red list nations "in the most extreme of circumstances".

People practice social distancing while queuing outside a Tesco Extra store in Twickenham, London, a

Rules including social distancing currently remain in place - Credit: PA

Funerals, weddings and similar events are limited to 30 people. 

Care home residents can have five named visitors (two at any time), who must test negative for Covid-19. 

What would things look like after 'Freedom Day'?

It remains the government's goal to end all forms of lockdown on June 21

That means removing the existing legal limits on social contact.

Shoppers around Norwich Market shopping local and staying safe in masks. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Face masks may no longer be compulsory after 'Freedom Day' - Credit: Archant

It is hoped social distancing would therefore be a thing of the past, while wearing face masks may no longer be compulsory. 

Businesses like nightclubs would be able open and limits on capacity crowds at sporting events and concerts would be lifted. 

This, however, is subject to the results of the Events Research Programme, during which thousands have been able to attend pilot events such as the FA Cup final.

The same study will guide decisions on whether limits on weddings and other life events can be removed, as well as whether Norwich City can enjoy the support of a capacity crowd at Carrow Road next season.

Norwich City fans enjoyed a famous 3-2 Premier League win over Manchester City Picture: Paul Chester

Norwich City fans will be keen to see the return of capacity crowds at Carrow Road - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Why is there talk of a delay?

Were it not for the growing prevalence of the Delta variant, step four of the government's roadmap would almost certainly proceed as planned. 

The new strain - first identified in India - is now responsible for more than 90pc of new Covid cases in the UK.

The overall figure currently stands at more than 40,000 cases. 

And on Friday, Public Health England (PHE) said the Delta variant was around 60pc more transmissible than the Alpha/Kent strain, according to new research. 

COVID-19 support officers handing out masks from their stand at Norwich Market. Picture: Danielle Bo

There are concerns the Delta variant of coronavirus will delay the lifting of remaining restrictions - Credit: Danielle Booden

PHE also reported that vaccines are 17pc less effective against the Delta strain than they are against Alpha after one dose. 

There was, however, only a small decline in efficacy after both jabs, demonstrating the importance of a second layer of protection

It may therefore be argued that more people - especially those over the age of 50 - should receive follow-up injections prior to the rules changing. 

Audrey Burton, 97, receiving her COVID-19 vaccination at the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in No

Covid vaccines are said to be 17pc less effective against the Delta strain after one dose - Credit: Danielle Booden

What does delaying Freedom Day depend on?

The central purpose of imposing restrictions has been to prevent deaths and stop the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. 

It has become clear in recent months that the vaccination programme, in conjunction with lockdown, has shattered the connection between contracting coronavirus and serious illness or death. 

Latest figures show that, as of June 8, Norfolk's hospitals had just three patients suffering with Covid.

Further coronavirus deaths have been announced at the Queen Elizabeth, James Paget and Norfolk and N

There are just three patients with coronavirus at Norfolk's hospitals - Credit: Archant

There are none in critical care, which has been the case since May 5. 

So long as hospitalisations remain low and the number of deaths even lower, decision-makers may see it as sensible to bring all curbs on normal life to an end.

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