UK will lift additional COVID restrictions including mandate to wear face masks: PM Boris Johnson

UK to lift Covid restrictions
Image Source: AP

A man crosses a street in the background of the Royal Exchange in the City of London’s financial district on January 5, 2021.


  • Several major COVID restrictions will be lifted in the UK, including the wearing of face masks.
  • People will not be asked to work from home, and a negative COVID report will also not be required.
  • The self-isolation period has been reduced from seven to five days from Monday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday his government’s decision to lift all additional restrictions imposed by Omicron to curb the spread, including making it mandatory to wear a face mask anywhere from next Thursday, after analysis showed that The new version of COVID-19 is now most likely in the country.

This means people in England will no longer be asked to work from home where COVID-19 vaccine certification, required and mandatory for large venues, will also end.

The government will no longer make the wearing of face masks mandatory anywhere, relying on the “judgment” of the public, while the mandatory face masks in school classrooms will be phased out from this week itself.

Johnson told the House of Commons that the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis shows that Omicron now most likely allows the country to go back to so-called Plan A, or minimal COVID restrictions.

‘Today’s latest ONS data clearly show that infection levels are falling in England and while there are some places where cases are likely to increase, including in primary schools, our scientists believe it is likely That omicron wave is now peaking at the national level,’ Johnson said.

“So, this morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, the way the public has reacted to Plan B measures, we in England can return to Plan A and allow Plan B rules to expire.” As a result, mandatory certification will end from the beginning of Thursday next week.

Of course, organizations can voluntarily choose to use the NHS COVID Pass, but we will end the mandatory use of COVID Status Certification in England,” he said.
He pointed to the ongoing “significant pressure” on the National Health Service (NHS), particularly in the North East and North West, but noted that hospital admissions have now “stagnated, with London admissions also falling”. “.

“The numbers in intensive care not only remain low but are actually falling,” Johnson said. England moved into the so-called Plan B measures on December 8, 2021, at the peak of the O’Micron boom. Other developed parts of the United Kingdom follow nearly identical guidelines on COVID restrictions.

“Across the country at large, we will continue to suggest wearing face coverings in enclosed or crowded places, especially where you come into contact with people you would not normally meet. But we will trust the judgment of the British people and will no longer criminalize anyone who does not want to wear it,” Johnson said.

“As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures are still in place, including self-isolation. In particular, it is still a legal requirement for those who have self-isolated.” have tested positive for COVID,” he said. ,

From Monday, the self-isolation period has been cut from seven to five days, with two negative rapid lateral flow tests required on days five and six. Johnson hoped the time would also come to do away with the legal requirement to completely self-isolate by March, “just as we don’t give people a legal obligation to isolate when they have the flu”.

“As COVID becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others. Self-isolation rules on March 24 are expiring, at which point I very much expect them not to be renewed”, he told MPs.

Johnson, battling an internal rebellion over alleged lockdown violations in Downing Street, sought to highlight his many successes as prime minister. He hailed the NHS vaccination program as the UK’s “fastest booster program in Europe”, with over 36 million boosters now distributed across the UK, including over 90 per cent of those over 60 in England.

“This week the World Health Organization said as the global situation remains challenging, the United Kingdom may begin to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ … it is no accident in history. Faced with the challenge of war and the worst pandemic since 1918, any government would do some things wrong, but this government did big things right,” he concluded.

The latest official figures for COVID-19 recorded 94,432 infections on Tuesday, a figure that has been on a downward trend for a few days.

Read also: UK PM expresses displeasure over allegations of flouting Covid lockdown rules at ‘Garden Party’

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