England on Thursday waived almost all of the latest restrictions imposed against the Omicron version of the coronavirus, a government hopeful population will live with Covid with the flu.
This independence comes at a good time for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is undermined more than ever by the head of government. downing street party scandal Who violated the anti-covid rules.
He celebrated the new phase on Twitter, however, warning that “the pandemic is not over”: “everyone should be careful, and I tell everyone who has not yet received a vaccine”.
After withdrawing the work-from-home recommendation a week ago, England is now getting rid of other restrictions – among the mildest in Europe – introduced in December in the face of a wave of micron cases: indoors or in public places Compulsory wearing of masks and vaccination passports for events with large audiences.
The government also announced that nursing home residents – 86.5% of whom have received a booster shot of the vaccine – will be able to receive an unlimited number of visitors from Monday. If they test positive for the coronavirus, they will have to isolate themselves for a short period of time.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced that the use of masks would remain mandatory on public transport in the capital. Some supermarket companies such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons are also asking their customers to follow suit.
“It feels like we are back in London like never before,” observed Elizabeth Hines, 71, interviewed by AFP in the heart of the British capital. “Now we realize how much we have missed theater and shows.” “Things need to get back to normal,” he says.
end of separation
Lewis Colbin, a 39-year-old bartender who has never had COVID-19 and isn’t worried about catching it again, approaches the new stage with optimism and caution: “It may be too soon, too late Maybe, I don’t know.” He will continue to wear a mask in transport and in stores.
More reluctant than the rest of the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) to implement restrictions, England almost completely lifted the ban on 19 July last year.
But the emergence of the Omicron version, even more contagious than Delta, prompted the Boris Johnson government to launch its own Plan B.
Measures aimed at strengthening the protection of the population with a booster vaccination campaign and continuing efforts to persuade those who are hesitant to vaccinate. Thus, 37 million booster doses were administered, allowing for severe cases and hospitalizations, and reducing pressure on the health system, according to the government.
According to the latest data, 64% of the population over the age of 12 received the third dose. As the number of cases exploded during the holiday season, Boris Johnson resisted calls to further tighten restrictions.
He believes the facts have proved him right: Hospitals have protested, the number of patients on ventilators has not increased and cases have dropped significantly. However, the UK, among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, still records around 100,000 new cases daily, with around 155,000 deaths.
Infection levels remain high, especially among children and adolescents, according to a study published by Imperial College London. Of the 3,500 participants in this large study who tested positive between January 5 and 20, two-thirds had previously contracted the virus.
The prime minister hopes to be able to suspend the obligation to self-isolate in the case of a positive test in March, “just as there is no legal obligation for people with the flu to isolate themselves”.