Covid restrictions set to be ‘substantially reduced’ next week says Sajid Javid – with WFH and jabs passports to be axed

0
69

COVID restrictions are set to be “substantially reduced” next week when Plan B measures are ditched, Sajid Javid declared today.

In a huge boost to millions of Brits the health secretary said he’s “cautiously optimistic” many curbs on daily life will be axed.

Sajid Javid said Covid restrictions are set to be eased next week

Addressing MPs, he said it’s likely the UK has “already reached the peak of the case numbers of hospitalisations” caused by the Omicron wave.

And he said Britain is in a much better place to combat the virus thanks to our high vaccination rates and new treatments.

He told the Commons: “I have always said that these restrictions should not stay in place a day longer than absolutely necessary.

“Due to these pharmaceutical defences and the likelihood that we have already reached the peak of the case numbers of hospitalisations, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to substantially reduce measures next week.”

The health sec praised the hard work of the British people in fighting off Omicron which he said allowed us to remain “the most open country in Europe”.

His remarks will further fuel growing expectations that the Government is set to ditch more restrictions from next Wednesday.

No 10 will hold a review of the ongoing need for Plan B as soon as the end of this week, with only masks set to stay.

There have even been reports that all Covid measures, including self-isolation, may be binned from the end of March.

From next week Brits will able to go back to the office and attend mass events like the footy without showing their vaccination status or a negative test.

Rules stating that kids have to wear masks in the classroom are also likely to be dropped from the middle of next week.

Follow our Covid live blog for all the latest updates

But face coverings are set to stay in communal areas of schools like hallways and canteens until Omicron cases dip further.

People will also have to continue wearing them in many public settings like trains, buses, and shops, for the near future.

Boris Johnson was more circumspect when asked about ending Plan B, and urged Brits to carry on coming forward for their boosters.

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Finchley, North London today, the PM said: “We’ve got to be careful about Covid.

“We’ve got to continue to remember that it’s a threat.”

But this morning Dominic Raab insisted Brits can be “cautiously confident” that we’re approaching the end of the Covid pandemic.

In an upbeat intervention the deputy PM talked about a “positive prognosis” in the fight against the virus.

His remarks were another major boost to hopes that all Covid restrictions will soon be dropped.

Pandemic ‘nearing end’

Asked if the end of the pandemic is “in sight” Mr Raab replied: “I think it’s a bit early to say that definitively, but good we’re asking that question.

“The reality is we are the most boosted country in terms of vaccines of any large country, the most tested in Europe which helps limit the spread.

“We’ve got the most antiviral drugs in Europe, which helps limit the seriousness of cases and severity.”

He added: “These are all because of the judgement calls the Prime Minister made and as a result of that, we’ve been able to open up.

“We’ve got increasing jobs, wages rising, fast economic growth. The Labour Party would have had is still in lockdown if we’d have listened to them.

“So I do think that the prognosis feels cautiously confident, positive. But we still need to wait. We’ve got this review on January 26.

“I think we will be in a better position at that juncture to make any further, clearer prognosis about the end of the pandemic.”

Nicola Sturgeon also said she’s “cautiously optimistic we’re turning the corner” as she prepares to ease Scotland’s harsh restrictions today.

And scientists are increasingly confident that the worst of the virus may now be behind us.

Infections and hospital cases are both now falling across the country for the first time since Omicron swept the country.

The World Health Organisation’s Covid special envoy David Nabarro said Britain could now see “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Weekly infections are down 42 per cent compared with the previous seven days — with a fall of more than 500,000.

And 16,621 Covid patients are now in NHS beds in England, down from 17,120 a week earlier.

Professor Alastair Grant, from the University of East Anglia, said cases were plummeting nationally, with England’s R rate at 0.67.

It means for every 100 infections, just 67 are passed on.

The need for kids to wear masks in the classrooms may be dropped next week

The need for kids to wear masks in the classrooms is set to be scrapped
Working from home guidance is set to be scrapped next week
Working from home guidance will also be lifted next Wednesday