PRIME minster Boris Johnson announced restrictions would be lifted on July 19 – ‘freedom day’.

It means people would no longer be required to wear masks, social distancing rules would be lifted and sports stadia could be open at full capacity once again.

And reacting to the news, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said it was “absolutely right” to lift restrictions.

Mr Ellwood told the Daily Echo: “Critically we have seen the relationship between cases and hospitalisations and deaths fundamentally change.

“That is thanks to the incredible vaccination programme, we need to learn to live with Covid, if the hospitalisations and deaths are lower than bad flu season, that is something the nation can begin to live with.

“As long as there is not another mutation that the vaccine can’t fight, then this absolutely is the right direction to go, especially as our economy has had a very challenging couple of years.”

On masks no longer being compulsory, Mr Ellwood said: “As we have seen, you can be vaccinated twice now and still get a bad case of Covid, the question is whether you want to take that risk or mitigate against by wearing a mask.

“Would you go outside without a coat in the freezing rain knowing that you are going to get ill?

“With things like SARS spreading in the far east it is typical to see many people travelling on the underground wearing masks, it is up to the individual.

“It is difficult to think outside of war time a generation that has gone through such hardship.

“It will be a different normal, we need to respect the pandemic, we need to respect the virus, it could easily mutate again.

“We can move forward, we can open up but we need to be cautious.”

Meanwhile, Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns also believed it was right to lift the remaining restrictions.

He said: “My view has always been that the government was very clear that we were engaged in a contract with the British public, we would ask the people to accept some of the most significant restrictions, curtailments to freedom we have not known in peace time, to give us the space to deploy the vaccine which is now rolling out so aggressively.

“I think we are now right to open our economy to allow people freedom they have always enjoyed.”

On masks, Mr Burns said: “There will be circumstances people will feel safer if they and others are wearing masks, such as congested public transport, but I think we should be using our common sense.

“I think the important point is, if we can’t open up our economy at the height of summer, then we will never be able to do it.

“If more cases leads to more hospitalisations, it is incredibly important to be relaxed and calm about it.

“That will be the price of learning to live in a free society with this strain.”

MP for Poole, Sir Robert Syms, said he was “very happy” with the decision government had made, and thought more people would wear a mask now it was a choice.

He said: “We have vaccinated the vast majority of the population, we must be near herd immunity.

“The point is the summer is not good for the virus, schools break up at the point restrictions are lifted which means the R number will come down.

“Some businesses have been closed for 18 months like night clubs, although I don’t expect many people will go to nightclubs, you have to give people the right to survive.

“I think what the government announced is sensible. I think this will get us back on track and give the economy a boost, I am very happy with the decision made.”