Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Raab: Face masks may have to stay beyond 21 June

Foreign Secretary of the UK Dominic Raab said today that 'some safeguards' might stay in place when legal restrictions end in his country

Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab has said that restrictions such as face masks and social distancing may stay in place after the end of lockdown.

Raab said today that “some safeguards” may stay in place when legal restrictions end. It came as he also warned that the UK is on the “last lap” of the fight against coronavirus, arguing there is only “a little bit more time” until all legal restrictions on social interaction are removed.

“We’re very close now to really turning the corner and I think we still need to be careful to go as I said we don’t want to see the gains lost and the sacrifices that have been made undone,” Raab told Sky‘s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“By the time we get to 21 June almost all social restrictions will be lifted so there’s only a little bit more time to go, but it’s right to make sure we do that in a careful way,” Raab said,

“I do think we just need to make sure that in the last lap — if you like — that we are careful and we don’t lose the gains we’ve made,” Raab added.

Raab identifies Russia, China as ‘threats’

The Group of Seven richest countries will look at a proposal to build a rapid response mechanism to counter Russian “propaganda” and disinformation, Raab told Reuters.

Speaking ahead of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London, the first such in-person meeting for two years, Raab said the United Kingdom was “getting the G7 to come together with a rapid rebuttal mechanism” to counter Russian misinformation.

“So that when we see these lies and propaganda or fake news being put out there, we can — not just individually, but come together to provide a rebuttal and frankly to provide the truth, for the people of this country but also in Russia or China or around the world,” Raab said.

Russia and China are trying to sow mistrust across the West, whether by spreading disinformation in elections or by spreading lies about Covid-19 vaccines, according to British, US and European security officials.

Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria.

“It’s time to think of why the countries which are sick to the core with propaganda, and which used it more than once to justify armed intervention and toppling of governments … accuse our country of their own sins,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media after Raab’s comments.

China says the West is a bully and that its leaders have a post-imperial mindset that makes them feel they can act like global policemen.

Britain has identified Russia as the biggest threat to its security although it views China as its greatest long-term challenge, militarily, economically and technologically.

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