London clubbers cheer end of COVID restrictions

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It’s been dubbed "Freedom Day" and clubbers in London were ready to party at one minute past midnight when most COVID restrictions were lifted in England on Monday (July 19).

This was one of the first rule-free live music events since the pandemic began last year.

Britain, which has one of the world's highest death tolls from COVID, is facing a new wave of cases.

But it hasn’t stopped Prime Minister Boris Johnson from lifting most restrictions in England.

Epidemiologists are generally skeptical that it is the right thing to do.

But many young British people have had enough of more than 1 1/2 years of lockdowns.

"I want to dance, I want to hear live music, I want the vibe of being at a gig, being around people."

"I know that the rate is going up but people say that it's not a big deal because it's young people that are getting infected and they won't get, it wouldn't be a serious thing, they're not going to die from it, so it feels okay for us to do it in a way."

"It's nice to be out but at the end of the day it's all going to result in some sort of impending doom with everybody out and mingling and not really knowing what they're doing. I also feel like everyone who's had the vaccine thinks they're invincible."

After rushing to vaccinate its population faster than almost all other European countries – Johnson's government is betting that England can reopen as fully-vaccinated people are less likely to get seriously ill with the virus.

British society appears split on the restrictions. Some want tough rules to continue as they fear the virus will keep killing people.

The promoters of the event say they lost money because fewer people than expected turned up.

For the artists, they say the lockdown has been tough.

James Cox is lead singer of the band Crows. He says at first it felt strange to be back on stage.

"Before this gig I had a bit of apprehension that I wasn't going to like it again because it's been so long and I was like: 'Oh maybe I have grown up and maybe I'm actually not going to like performing that much anymore'. And then as soon as we like stood on the stage and started soundchecking I was like: 'Oh yeah, I do like this, it's like, I do love this, this is my passion'. That's why I've been doing it for so many years because it is a passion."

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