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19 Jan, 2022 12:56

UK’s Johnson scraps ‘Plan B’ Covid measures amid Omicron spread

Anti-Covid restrictions will expire next week
UK’s Johnson scraps ‘Plan B’ Covid measures amid Omicron spread

Speaking on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of Covid-19 measures, as the latest data suggested the wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant was past its peak. The scrapping of the ‘Plan B’ restrictions means that Covid-19 passes will no longer be required in England and that people will not be asked to work from home whenever possible.

“The government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere,” Johnson stated, adding that “we can return to Plan A and allow Plan B regulations to expire” from Thursday next week. While face masks will no longer be needed in classrooms and guidance on wearing coverings in tight communal spaces will be removed, Johnson said the government will still “suggest” their use to prevent contagion. “We will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear them (masks),” he added.

The prime minister also said that organizations can voluntarily choose to use the health pass and said that the government will remove restrictions preventing people from visiting care homes.

Johnson added that there will “soon come a time” when self-isolation due to Covid is no longer necessary and those with the virus will simply need to be “careful and considerate of others.” The announcements, particularly those concerning the scrapping of masks, prompted loud cheers from the Tory backbenches.

Johnson insisted that the government “got the toughest decisions right,” when they chose not to implement tough restrictions in England, unlike the embattled devolved governments in Wales and Scotland.

Labour said they supported the move, “as long as the science says it is safe.” The UK has seen record Covid cases over the past month, but cases levels are now dropping quickly. With more than 90.7% of over 12s having received at least one Covid shot, mortality rates remained low despite a spike in hospitalizations.