The British media dubs it “Freedom Day,” Germany describes it as a “highly risky experiment”. So, who’s right about July 19, the day Britain drops its COVID-19-linked activity curbs and mandatory mask-wearing?
Britain’s blistering vaccine campaign had made the pound one of this year’s best performing G10 currencies, lifted shares in UK hospitality and retail firms and spurred hopes of a swift economic rebound.
But an upsurge in the Delta variant and forecasts for Britain’s COVID caseload to reach 100,000 a day by the end of August are stirring unease. Bonds are benefiting from a rush to safety while European travel shares are down 8% in the past month.
Friday’s July Purchasing Managers’ Index releases may reflect the impact of rising infections on activity. With the likes of Israel and Holland backtracking on reopening plans and Germany retaining curbs until vaccinations rise, just how long Britons enjoy their freedom from lockdown remains to be seen.