CORONAVIRUS restrictions have finally been lifted in England today more than a year since the country went into lockdown.

Dubbed as Freedom Day, Monday, July 19, has seen all restrictions end with people gaining their 'freedom' back.

Wearing face masks in shops, public transport and hospitality are now voluntary but the government is still advising people to wear them in crowded spaces such as on buses, trains and trams.

Nightclubs have now reopened again and music festivals, can resume for the summer.

Singing in church is now allowed, and there are no limits on the number of people at weddings and funerals.

Royal Borough Observer: Photo by PA Photo by PA

Another big thing is the "one-metre plus" rule on social distancing being lifted except in specific circumstances such as at a border, where people from red and amber list countries will still be stopped from mingling with each other.

Regarding entertaining at home, house parties are no longer against the law.

Despite this, Covid cases are sharply rising with England’s overall rate of new cases currently standing at 425.3 per 100,000 people: the highest since January 19.

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The number of Covid-19 patients in some major hospital trusts in England has climbed back to around a third of the level seen at the peak of the second wave of the virus.

Berkshire's overall rate of new cases currently stands at 249.8 per 100,000 population.

According to Public Health England, there has been 575 new coronavirus cases in Berkshire.

Royal Borough Observer:

Coronavirus case rates in Berkshire

Bracknell Forest - 370.5

Reading - 278.2

Windsor and Maidenhead - 247

West Berkshire - 215.2

Slough - 179.9

Wokingham - 232

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Vaccine figures

As of Sunday, July 18, 149,688 people have been vaccinated in Bracknell Forest. 85,286 have received their first dose and 64,402 have had their second dose.

Wokingham - First dose 124,349, second dose: 96,278

Reading - First dose 110,391, Second dose: 73,585

West Berkshire - First dose: 116,567, second dose: 89,226

Slough - First dose: 90,058, Second dose: 65,046

Windsor and Maidenhead - First dose: 108,566, Second dose: 86,431

The third wave is also having a growing impact on hospitals.

The number of Covid-19 patients in some major hospital trusts has climbed back to around a third of the level seen at the peak of the second wave of the virus.

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Wexham Park Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital and Heatherwood Hospital, has seen five new patients admitted having contracted Covid-19.

There are 17 Covid patients in total and two patients on ventilation.

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has one new patient admitted and six currently in total.

Only one patient is on ventilation.

This hospital trust runs Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, West Berkshire Community Hospital, the Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor and the Renal Unit based between Slough and Windsor.

The Trust also provides outpatient services at Townlands Hospital in Henley.