LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected on Monday to announce plans to lift the remaining coronavirus restrictions in the UK, including a legal requirement that people with test results self-isolate. tested positive, making the country superior in handling the pandemic.
Mr Johnson’s statement, expected on Monday afternoon, comes at a time when the number of cases has dropped but a day after Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive and is suffering from mild cold symptoms.
Some critics say the news highlights the risks of moving too quickly to removal restrictions, while political opponents say decisions are being made in Downing Street to distract from the attention from a police investigation on whether Mr Johnson broke coronavirus laws he set for himself.
Ahead of the announcement, Mr Johnson’s aides said the prime minister would lay out a strategy for living with coronavirus, rather than declaring the pandemic over.
“The pandemic is not over yet but thanks to the incredible release of a vaccine, we are now one step closer to returning to normal and finally returning freedom to everyone while continuing to protect yourself and others,” Mr Johnson said in comments released by the office.
He added that the announcement will “mark a proud moment after one of the most difficult periods in our nation’s history as we begin to learn to live with Covid.”
The rules will only apply to England although it is unclear exactly when they will begin. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own powers over health matters and make their own rules.
Mr Johnson’s government said it while it was intended to remove legal requirements In the UK for people who test positive for self-isolation, it will still urge them to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable people.
The government also plans to scale down the country’s costly coronavirus testing program, a move that even some of Mr Johnson’s own lawmakers have expressed concern, with fears it could limit availability of free tests. On Monday, a cabinet discussion on the details of that move was delayed at the last moment amid reports of stress over the continued costs of coronavirus measures.
Tim Loughton, a Conservative member of Parliament, said the country must “learn to live with Covid, not lock everything down and retreat until it’s gone.” But he told the BBC he was “a little apprehensive in that I think we still need to offer widespread testing, because I think that’s the reassurance that people can have that they’ve done it.” take all possible precautions and they don’t want to infect others”.
Ahead of Mr Johnson’s announcement, the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said on Monday that a second booster shot would be made available to adults aged 75 and over, those living in care homes and those living in care homes. people 12 years of age and older with conditions that weaken their immune system. systems.
“We know immunity to Covid-19 begins to decline over time,” Mr Javid said in a statement. “That’s why we’re offering spring boosters to people at higher risk of severe Covid-19 to ensure they maintain a high level of protection.” To date, almost 38 million Britons have had all three shots given.
The current restrictions are expected to expire on March 24 and, given his precarious political position, Mr Johnson may have struggled to convince lawmakers from his own Conservative Party. I agree to any extension of the legal requirement to self-isolate, with penalties for these people. rule breakers.
Some liberals in Mr Johnson’s party are likely to pressure the government to withdraw current guidance on people wearing face coverings in tight and crowded spaces, with some reduction case.
The Latest available statistics showed 25,696 daily cases and 74 deaths within 28 days of testing positive.
The opposition Labor Party has called on the government to release the scientific evidence behind its decision-making.
Wes Streeting, Labor Party spokesman on health issues, said: “Now is not the time to start charging for tests or reducing sick pay, when people are still required to be behave responsibly.
He also accused the prime minister of making the announcement scheduled for Monday to distract attention from a crisis over his leadership and a police investigation into claims that the party held in Downing Street during the lockdown.
“Boris Johnson is declaring victory before the war is over, in an attempt to distract the police who are knocking on his door,” Mr Streeting said in a statement.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/world/europe/boris-johnson-coronavirus-england.html Boris Johnson set to lift Coronavirus restrictions in UK