The Bishop of London has cautioned churches to remember the most vulnerable as Covid restrictions lift.
The Prime Minister announced earlier this week that all remaining Covid restrictions would be ending as part of the government’s “Living with Covid” plan.
From Thursday, people with Covid will no longer be legally required to self isolate, and routine contact tracing will end.
Bishop Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said that “there may be good reason” for individuals and local churches to continue taking some measures despite legal restrictions lifting.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement that Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted holds out the hopeful prospect of the end of the pandemic but will nonetheless raise concerns for some,” she said.
She added, “I am conscious that some people with medical conditions will be more fearful now that compulsory isolation for those who are likely to be infectious is ending and we should not lose our focus on the most vulnerable.”
The bishop said the pandemic has had “a major impact” on people’s wellbeing and that “the need to look out for each other is as great if not greater than ever”.
But she also thanked the NHS and frontline workers, and paid tribute to the many people “who have made huge sacrifices” during the pandemic, including clergy, parish volunteers and congregations.
And she expressed thanks for the vaccine.
“Your actions – whether noticed or unnoticed, big or small – have been the glue which has held our communities and our nation together during this time of great need,” she said.
She added, “We’ve much to be thankful for – not least the vaccines which have been a real answer to prayer. They are more vital than ever, both here and around the world.”