VACCINE passports and face masks will be encouraged as ministers set out a cautious approach to England’s freedom day.

In a response to rising coronavirus cases, experts fear there could be 200 deaths a day despite the protection offered by the vaccination campaign ahead of July 19

The plans have been met with mixed reaction from Southampton's MPs.

Last night, Boris Johnson said: “It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution and I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over.

“This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family.

“We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid.

“We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport.”

Although the Government order to work from home where possible will lift from Monday, ministers encouraged firms to implement a gradual return to the workplace.

Nightclubs, which will be able to reopen on July 19 after being shut since the first lockdown in March 2020, and other venues with crowds should use vaccine passports for entry “as a matter of social responsibility”, Mr Johnson said.

The Covid Pass, on the NHS app, shows proof of double vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity having recovered from coronavirus.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, told the Daily Echo he was "delighted that we can now move forward and continue on our path back to normality".

"The virus is still circulating but the vaccine programme is giving the population the protection that keeps more of us safe," he added.

"It is crucial that people and organisations exercise good judgment. The new guidance is a step in the right direction but it remains important that we understand that the virus is still here as we continue to remove the restrictions imposed on people’s lives.”

However, Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, said he was "worried" about the high levels of infections.

He said: "This news will be welcomed by many people however I do worry about the high level of infections and even though hospitalisations and deaths aren't rising at the same rate this will inevitably put more pressure on the NHS as infections continue to go upward.

"I think it is irresponsible to abandon the mandatory mask wearing policy as this is something we can all do to keep each other safe as we enjoy more socialising and other freedoms."