Sumary of U.K. Leaders Hail a Return to Normal; Their Phone App Disagrees:
- LONDON — Gas stations closed, garbage collection canceled and supermarket shelves stripped bare of food, water and other essential goods.
- In a week when Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised England a return to normality after the end of months of lockdown rules, a coronavirus-weary nation has instead been battered by a new crisis.
- This was not what the government was hoping for when it lifted most coronavirus legal restrictions in England on Monday, a moment hailed as “Freedom Day” by the tabloids.
- Mr. Johnson argues that the country has good levels of protection because of its successful vaccine rollout and that summer is the best time to end the rules because schools are on vacation breaks and there tends to be less virus transmission with people spending more time outdoors.
- But the relaxation coincided with a big spike in new cases, numbering around 40,000 a day, prompted by the highly infectious Delta variant.
- Supermarkets have warned of staff shortages, as have trucking firms, and the British Meat Processors Association said that 5 to 10 percent of the work force of some of its companies had been pinged.
- Faith in the system was knocked again when a business minister, Paul Scully, pointed out that a ping was simply advisory — a correct statement but one that did not align with continuing calls from Downing Street for people to self-isolate if asked.
- “Oh gosh,” Victoria Atkins, a Home Office minister, told LBC Radio when asked that question.