UK: Boris Johnson rolls back Covid-19 measures including mandatory face masks, vaccine pass

Plan B measures refer to legally enforced face masks, mandatory Covid passes, and advice to work from home. Johnson expressed hope that England can now return to Plan A, which consists of less strict regulations.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (AP)
Published on Jan 20, 2022 03:20 PM IST
Copy Link

British prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (local time) announced the end of Covid-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England.

"Our scientists believe that is likely that Omicron wave has now peaked nationally. From now on, Govt is no longer asking people to work from home," he said.

Johnson further said that the UK was the first nation in the world to administer a vaccine, and one of the fastest in Europe to roll it out.

"This was because we made the big call to pursue our own vaccine procurement, outside of the European Medicines Agency (EMA)," said Johnson.

"We made the tough decision to open up last summer when others said that we shouldn't, and kept open this winter while others locked down. As a result, we have the most open economy and society in Europe, and the fastest-growing economy in the G7," added Johnson.

The UK PM also said that they are the first nation to emerge from the Omicron wave because it focused on NHS on delivering the fastest booster campaign in Europe.

"And it is because of the extraordinary booster campaign - together with the way the public has responded to the Plan B measures - that we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire," said Johnson.

Plan B measures refer to legally enforced face masks, mandatory Covid passes, and advice to work from home.

Johnson also said that his "government got the big things right". He said, "Confronted by the nation's biggest challenge since the Second World War and the worst pandemic since 1918, any government would get some things wrong."

The move comes amid a peak in Covid-19 cases in the UK and his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings accusations that the British prime minister lied to the parliament that he thought a drinks party held in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown was work-related.

"On 18 January 94,432 new cases and 438 deaths in 28 days of a positive test were reported in the UK," tweeted UK Health Security Agency.

A total of 52,133,611 people have now received the first dose of a vaccine, while 47,989,635 people have now received the second dose of a vaccine.

Meanwhile, 36,546,583 people have received a booster dose, added UK Health Security Agency.

The UK was the first country to raise alarm over Covid-19 mutations, to limit international travel over the Omicron variant, and in December introduced work-at-home advice, more mask-wearing and vaccine passes to slow its spread.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A worker wearing a face mask and protective gown drives a cart along a street in Shanghai, China, Saturday. 

    Shanghai reopens some public transport, still on high Covid alert

    Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week. Inside the carriages, passengers were seen keeping some empty seats between themselves. Four of the 20 lines reopened, and 273 bus routes. Most restrictions on movement will remain in place this month.

  • Biden said he was "not concerned" about new North Korean nuclear tests, which would be the first in nearly five years.

    Joe Biden says 'hello' to N.Korea's Kim Jong amid tensions over weapons tests

    US President Joe Biden, in Seoul before heading to Japan as part of his first Asia trip as president, had a simple message for North Korea's Kim Jong Un: "Hello... period," he told reporters on the last day of his visit to South Korea on Sunday. Biden said he was "not concerned" about new North Korean nuclear tests, which would be the first in nearly five years.

  • TOPSHOT - Ukrainian servicemen assist their comrades not far from the frontline in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, on May 21, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

    Only diplomacy can end Ukraine war: Zelensky as Kyiv rules out ceasefire- top 10

    Only diplomacy can end the Ukraine war, the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has insisted as Kyiv on Saturday ruled out settling for ceasefire or “concessions” to Russia. Here are ten updates on the Ukraine war: 1. The war-hit country has estimated its losses to be around $100 billion, reports have said. The Ukraine war has triggered a global fuel and food crisis. But it has also widened the differences between Russia and its neighbouring countries.

  • FILE - People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea on May 16, 2022. North Korean propaganda describes an all-out effort to fight a suspected COVID-19 outbreak that has sickened nearly 2 million people. But defectors say fear is palpable among North Korean citizens who lack access to hospital care and struggle to afford even basic medicine. 

    Covid may be factor in lack of North Korea response to outreach: White House

    COVID-19 restrictions may be playing a role in North Korea's lack of response to offers of diplomatic talks, a senior U.S. administration official said on Sunday, a day after President Joe Biden said he had offered vaccines to Pyongyang. Biden is in South Korea before heading to Japan later on Sunday as part of his first trip through Asia as president.

  • Community members gather to look at a tree that was destroyed during a major storm in Ottawa, Canada, Saturday.

    Four dead in Canada after heavy storms wreak havoc in Ontario and Quebec

    Four people are dead and nearly 900,000 homes without power after severe storms pummeled the eastern Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, authorities said Saturday. Ontario police said on Twitter that three people had died and several more were injured due to a strong summer thunderstorm. One man was killed when a tree fell on the trailer he was staying in. The fourth victim was a woman in her fifties.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, May 22, 2022