End Of Covid? This Country Ends Mandatory Mask, Vaccine, Work From Home Rules; Return To Normal!
- PM Johnson has dropped all ‘Plan B’ measures.
- Johnson pledges to avoid lockdowns as countries like Hong Kong and China double down on restrictions.
- Johnson may end the legal requirement for individuals to self-isolate if tested COVID positive.
United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now proclaimed the end of COVID-19 protocols which include mandatory face masks. It seems as though he is looking at life with the virus after Omicron cases hit their peak in the country.
Johnson has been light-handed with his approach to control Omicron. He has advised people to work from home and wear masks. Vaccine passes are being used to identify who is vaccinated. However, he is not applying any strict restrictions which can be seen across many countries.
No Restrictions In UK
Cases have risen off the charts but Britain is not seeing the same rise in hospitalization and deaths. This is partly due to Britain’s booster program and also due to the variant being less severe.
While Johnson has pledged that he will avoid lockdowns, many other non European countries are doubling down on strict restrictions. There is a zero tolerance approach towards COVID-19 in China and Hong Kong.
Johnson has told the lawmakers that many countries across Europe have endured long winter lockdowns but that Britain has taken a different path. He is of the opinion that the government has made the right decision as the number of people going into intensive care were decreasing.
Johnson also 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.”
Johnson has not said anything else about the ‘Plan B’ measures which may or may not apply in Britain after January. Face masks will not be enforced legally and COVID passes would also not be mandatory. The government has also said that they will no longer ask people to work from home from this point onwards.
Johnson has provided official figures which show that the prevalence rate of the infection is falling tremendously. However, scientists have warned people that if their behavior goes back to normal, the cases will rise again very quickly.
Is the pandemic really over?
Johnson has faced a lot of criticism for the way he has dealt with the pandemic from the very beginning. Britain has reported 152,875 deaths till date which is the seventh highest total globally. Scotland, Whales and Northern Ireland have followed their own COVID-19 measures; they generally had stricter restrictions but have also now begun to ease restrictions.
The rise of the Omicron variant and its navigation without a stringent lockdown and also the lifting of Plan B measures could help Johnson pacify the very vocal opponents of such restrictions in his own caucus and calm the party unrest.
Johnson has also stated that if all the data supports it, he may end the legal requirement to self-isolate if an individual is tested COVID positive before the regulation lapses in March. But he has added that to make this possible the citizens will have to be cautious during the last weeks of winter as there is continuous pressure on the hospital system.
Susan Hopkins who is the Chief Medical advisor to the UK Health Security Agency has said “The pandemic is not over”
She expects the cases to keep declining but it won’t be linear. The cases may plateau at some points as the infection is in various different populations.
According to her, people’s behavior and they react to the removal of Plan B will determine how fast the infection spreads in the population.