Under-Fire Boris Johnson’s COVID Gamble: Britain To Go Off Mask From Next Week
London: People in the UK won’t have to wear masks from next week as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lifting of restrictions that were reimposed last month amid a steep surge in coronavirus cases, driven by the Omicron variant.
Work from home advisory has been lifted with immediate effect, while from the middle of next week people will no longer have to wear masks in any setting or use a COVID-19 pass to enter places like nightclubs.
Many feel that it’s a gamble being taken by Johnson, who is facing the heat amid a scandal over he and his staff breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules by holding a number of parties at Downing Street.
The PM reasoned that that the country’s “extraordinary booster campaign” had made the change possible as infections have peaked.
More than 36 million booster jabs have been administered in the UK, with 90% of over-60s having received a third dose.
“Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally,” Johnson said, before cautioning that the pandemic is not over.
“I encourage everyone across the country to continue with all the cautious behaviours that we know help to keep everybody safe,” Johnson said.
Daily caseload has come down from over 200,000 in early January, but it was still around 108,000 on Wednesday. But Omicron has not been causing less severe illness or a high rate of hospitalization.
Johnson , who only has responsibility for health policy in England, reinstated the curbs last month to cope with what he called a “tidal wave” of expected infections from Omicron.
Some scientists had been calling for stricter measures, but Johnson didn’t pay heed to them.