UK PM Johnson drops COVID-19 restrictions

A masked woman passes COVID-19 guidance at a store in London, Britain, 19 January 2022. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced England's Plan B measures are to end with mandatory face coverings in public places and COVID-19 passports both dropped. [EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL]

People in England will no longer be required to wear face masks anywhere or work from home from next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (19 January), adding that scientists believed a wave of the Omicron coronavirus variant had peaked nationally.

Johnson also said that while people would still be required to self-isolate for now, he did not expect to renew self-isolation legislation, which will expire in March, and would look into scrapping the requirement sooner.

“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 in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire as a result from the start of Thursday next week,” Johnson told parliament.

Johnson said mandatory COVID-19 certification would end, though businesses could choose to continue COVID passes if they wanted to.

The move comes at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron has toughened restrictions by making the COVID-19 certification a vaccination pass, and when Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides warned that the current Omicron wave may not be the last one.

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According to Worldometer, the daily new  cases in the UK on 19 January were 108,069, the deaths on the same day were 359, and the currently infected stood at 3,615,555.

The Worldometer graph shows that the Omicron wave has peaked on 5 January with 218,376 new cases on that day.

In comparison for the same day the new daily cases in France were 436,167, the deaths on that day 231, and the currently infected stood at 5,434,633. The graph shows that the Omicron wave is at its peak currently.

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