Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that Plan B Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted in England next week.
Plan B measures currently in place, such as mandatory Covid certification for access to certain venues and the use of face masks, will expire on January 26. Johnson also announced that working-from-home guidance would be phased out starting next Thursday.
Johnson told lawmakers that the restrictions were being eased because government scientists believed it was likely that the surge of infections prompted by the highly contagious Omicron variant “has now peaked nationally.”
While hospitals in northern England still are getting pressed by high caseloads and infections were still rising in schools, Johnson said hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units elsewhere in England were stabilizing or falling.
“As a result, from the start of Thursday next week, mandatory certifications will end in England, but organisations can choose to use NHS Covid passes voluntarily. From now on, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements to returning to the office.
“Having looked at the data carefully, the cabinet concluded that once regulations lapse, the government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the wearing of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgement of the British people.”
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