Covid restrictions could start to be lifted this month, after Michael Gove said Britain was moving towards a situation where it could ‘live with’ the virus.
The Plan B measures were imposed last month in response to the Omicron variant and include guidance on WFH and legal requirements for masks and Covid passes in certain venues.
Downing Street is examining options to lift them in stages if cases remain too high to remove them all in one go. Extending Covid passes, due to expire on January 26, would require another bruising clash with Tory backbenchers, which No10 wants to avoid.
But some ministers are pushing for the WFH guidance to be removed first, arguing that it causes the most damage to the economy.
The Prime Minister has asked the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to look again at whether the self-isolation period could be relaxed from seven days to five to ease crippling staff shortages in the economy and public services.
In an extraordinary twist, the UKHSA yesterday admitted it had issued misleading claims about the way Britain’s rules compare to other countries.
Mr Gove, who has consistently argued for the toughest curbs, yesterday warned that there were ‘difficult weeks ahead’ for the NHS as the virus surges outside London. But he said there would be ‘better times ahead’ once the current surge in cases has passed.
‘There are other coronaviruses which are endemic and with which we live – viruses tend to develop in a way whereby they become less harmful but more widespread,’ he said.
‘So, guided by the science, we can look to the progressive lifting of restrictions and, I think for all of us, the sooner the better. But we have got to keep the NHS safe.’
Source: The Dailymail