England on Thursday lifted the coronavirus restrictions that were imposed in the country in December to tackle an increase in cases of the Omicron variant, reported The Associated Press.
Now, face masks are no longer required by law in public places in the country, and the mandatory Covid-19 passes to enter venues such as nightclubs and football grounds have been removed.
The decision came after the Britain government said its Covid-19 vaccine booster rollout has successfully reduced serious illness and hospitalisations. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had last week also said that the Omicron cases have peaked nationally.
The number of hospitalisations and the people in intensive care units have fallen. Daily cases have also come down from the peak of over 2 lakh cases a day around New Year to under 1 lakh now.
Officials said that almost 84% of residents of the United Kingdom who are over 12 years have received their second vaccine dose. Also, 81% of eligible beneficiaries have been administered the booster dose.
“Our vaccines, testing and antivirals ensure we have some of the strongest defences in Europe and are allowing us to cautiously return to Plan A, restoring more freedoms to this country,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said, reported AFP.
Javid, however, also warned that “as we learn to live with Covid-19, we need to be clear eyed that this virus is not going away”. Health officials have cautioned that Omicron was the prevalent strain across the country, especially among children and the elderly.
Those infected with the coronavirus disease are still required to self-isolate for five days. But Johnson said that the measure will also end soon and will be replaced with advice and guidance for the infected persons to be cautious.
Meanwhile, some shopkeepers have said that they will still ask people to wear masks, according to AP. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also said that face masks would still be mandatory for travelling on city’s buses and subway trains.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are also part of the United Kingdom, set their own health policy.