Boris Johnson lifts COVID restrictions in England

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases caused by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Reuters reported.

Boris Johnson lifts COVID restrictions in England

Boris Johnson lifts COVID restrictions in England

STEPANAKERT, JANUARY 21, ARTSAKHPRESS: Johnson's light touch approach to dealing with Omicron saw him introduce work-at-home advice and vaccine passes as well as more mask-wearing on Dec. 8, although he stopped short of more onerous restrictions seen globally.

While cases soared to record highs, hospitalisations and deaths have not risen by the same extent, in part due to Britain's booster rollout and the variant's lesser severity.

"Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns... but this government took a different path," Johnson told lawmakers, saying the government had got the toughest decisions right and that numbers going into intensive care were falling.

"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."
Johnson said none of the so-called Plan B measures would remain in England when they lapse on Jan. 26, as face masks would not be legally enforced anywhere and COVID passes would not be mandatory.

Thegovernment said it would also no longer ask people to work from home, effective immediately.

Johnson cited official figures that showed infection prevalence levels falling from a record high. read more

But scientists warned that cases could still turn higher again if people's behaviour returned to normal quickly.