BRITS are set to enjoy greater freedoms in just 12 days’ time with Boris Johnson poised to ditch Plan B restrictions.
The PM is expected to remove many curbs on our daily lives amid growing confidence the UK can ride out the Omicron wave.
He is very likely to end the requirement to work from home and consign controversial vaccine passports to the dustbin.
Mask wearing in public places is the only of the three major Covid measures that could stay in place beyond the end of the month.
A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
HOAR’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The legal underpinning for Plan B expires on January 26 and the restrictions will fade away unless renewed by the PM.
Top Tories are urging Boris to do away with all curbs as he looks to steady his premiership amid the No 10 party scandal.
One Cabinet minister said: “The scientific voices seem to be becoming less doom-laden.
“If we have to keep wearing face masks for a bit, then I’m fine with that.
“Ending work-from-home guidance is the important one. It will help get the economy firing.”
The PM’s top team have been briefed with data “where everything seems to be going in the right direction”.
Follow our Covid live blog for all the latest updates
And a decision not to renew vaccine passports for mass events like football games would avoid another Commons mutiny from Tory MPs.
A source told The Times: “There was always a very high threshold for the policy. The way cases are going it will be hard to justify renewing it.”
Even scientific figures who warned of the dangers of Omicron now say the UK in a better place and measures can be eased.
Scotland and Wales went ahead and imposed harsher restrictions than England over Christmas, but are now ditching them.
Wales and Scotland ease curbs
Today the Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford announced large outdoor events like football and rugby matches can go ahead again.
He outlined a plan to ditch almost all restrictions and return to alert level zero on January 28 – two days after England.
The Welsh Tories said the Labour administration in Cardiff had “overreacted” to Omicron and should’ve followed No 10’s approach.
Leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Labour ministers clearly overreacted to Omicron and that has caused significant pain and anguish for families and businesses in Wales.
“Sadly, Labour have left Wales as an outlier in the UK with the strictest restrictions when it comes to sport, outdoor activity and hospitality.
“The British booster campaign has been a resounding success and, as such, Labour should now move swiftly and remove restrictions as we get on the road to recovery and as a nation learn to live with Covid 19.”
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced the easing of her country’s harsh restrictions this week.
She has been panned by Scottish hospitality firms for insisting on tough curbs that hammered businesses while doing little to stop the virus.
Conservatives now hope the PM’s decision to keep England relatively restriction free will pay off with voters.
A Tory strategist told the FT: “Boris’ polling numbers improve as the Covid tide turned over Christmas and the PM’s decision to hold the line paid off.
“The same could happen again in February — at least he will hope so.”