The government looks increasingly likely to start removing Covid restrictions by the end of January as the number of daily positive cases continues to fall rapidly.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said the “signs are encouraging” for the lifting of Covid restrictions in England as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to review the rules.
‘Plan B’ was introduced in early December following a spike in cases caused by the highly infectious variant of Omicron which was first detected in the UK in November. This meant wearing a mask became mandatory on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and people who could were encouraged to work from home.
READ MORE: London Covid: Government could scrap Plan B rules after huge 44% drop in cases
But everything could change on January 26.
Mr Dowden told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday: ‘I always hoped we would have the Plan B restrictions for the shortest time possible.
“I have no doubts about the kind of burdens this places on hospitality, wider business, schools etc. and I want us to get rid of those if possible.
“The signs are encouraging but, clearly, we will wait to see the data before that final decision.”
Mr Dowden also said there was “very promising data” on infections and hospital admissions of the Omicron variant.
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He said: “It gives us pause for hope and optimism that we can get out of the worst of Omicron”.
It comes after a government health adviser said coronavirus cases appear to be ‘stacking off’ in parts of the UK.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said on Saturday that London, the south east and east of England were seeing the number of infections flatten.
Boris Johnson could make an announcement on easing restrictions within days as part of a blitz of policy news as he seeks to survive the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into alleged anti-lockdown parties at Downing Street.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he hoped the rules could be lifted “as soon as possible”, but warned the Prime Minister not to act just to distract from so-called partygate.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday morning show, Sir Keir said: ‘I think the sooner we can lift the final restrictions the better. I think that’s what the whole country wants.
“So if it is the right thing to do to lift these restrictions, we will vote to lift these restrictions. But we will be guided by science as we have always been, not by the politics of supporting a Prime Minister broken.
Meanwhile, former Vaccine Task Force Chairman Dr Clive Dix has called for an end to mass Covid vaccinations.
Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC on Sunday, he said: “The Omicron variant is a relatively mild virus. And continuing to vaccinate people and thinking about doing it again to protect the population is, in my opinion, now a waste of time. »
Instead, he argued for a “highly targeted approach” to vaccinating vulnerable people.
Dr Dix said even when the recall campaign was announced it was ‘essential’ to get everyone excited as he is not convinced it ‘was needed or is needed’ for young people.
He added: “I think a lot of the thinking at the time was to stop infection and transmission where clearly these vaccines don’t.
“We’ve seen this because we’ve seen these huge levels of infection, but what they (reminders) do, and it’s absolutely clear, they keep people from getting seriously ill and dying. 85% of people who become seriously ill and die are vulnerable and elderly people, so it is on them that we should focus.
He said the government should be ‘very focused’ on finding out for the ‘future vaccination programme’ next winter, arguing there should be a study to understand the immunity status of the public.
“So by next winter we can really have an educated vaccination policy, using the right vaccines at the right time for the right people.”
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