It took less than three hours for the government to perform its screeching U-turn.
It was supposed to be a day when ministers could crow about England’s great unlocking from midnight tonight.
Instead, even Tory MPs said it showed confusion at the heart of government and its messaging, and again threw up questions about ending mask wearing and social distancing with infections on the rise.
Covid figures are often lower on a Sunday because of the way they are counted, but the latest 24-hour government figures show that there have been more than forty eight thousand new cases.
Another 740 people have been admitted to hospital with Covid bringing the total to 3,964 and there have been another 25 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
Jane Deith reports.