British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced the end of COVID-19 measures which were earlier introduced to control the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England.
According to him, the Plan B measures would no longer be imposed, face masks would not be legally enforced anywhere, COVID passes would not be mandatory and advice to work from home would end.
This comes after cases reported within England peaked, hence, the prime minister is resorting to live with the virus.
What the British PM is saying
The Prime Minister’s recent approach to relax lockdowns and opt instead to live with the virus contrasts with a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 in China and Hong Kong, and tougher restrictions in many other European countries.
The Prime Minister told lawmakers, saying, “Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns… but this government took a different path”. He added that the government had got the toughest decisions right and that numbers going into intensive care were falling.
He said, “Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally… because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A.”
Furthermore, he said that if data supported it, he may end the legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive before the regulation lapses in March.
“But to make that possible, we must all remain cautious during these last weeks of winter,” he said, warning of continued pressure on hospitals.
What you should know
When the variant began to spread across countries and regions, Britain was the first country to limit international travel, introducing work-at-home advice, more mask-wearing and vaccine passes to slow its spread in December 2021.
However, as Omicron cases have soared to record highs, hospitalisations and deaths have not risen proportionally, largely attributable to the country’s booster rollout and the variant’s lesser severity.