On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil plans to scrap coronavirus restrictions as part of a “living with COVID” strategy that aims to achieve a faster exit from the pandemic compared to other major economies.
Johnson is set to announce the repeal of any pandemic reqirements that impinge on personal freedoms; the development comes at a time when Queen Elizabeth has reportedly tested positive for the virus.
According to these plans, which have been in the works for weeks, Britain is set to become the first major European country to allow people, even those who know they are infected with COVID-19, to freely use shops, public transport and even go to work.
On Sunday Johnson had said this does not mean he wants people to “throw caution to the wind” and that there is no case for complacency, however with the government’s vaccine rollout, the government will move from a position of state mandate to increased personal responsibility.
81% of British adults have got their booster shots in England.
“Today will mark a moment of pride after one of the most difficult periods in our country’s history as we begin to learn to live with COVID,” said Johnson in a statement ahead of Monday’s announcement to parliament.
Incidentally, the virus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has led to more than 160,000 fatalities within 28 days of infection, – the second-highest in Europe after Russia’s; Britain has reported an average of 43,000 cases and 144 deaths a day in the last week.
Medical experts have urged Johnson not to be “gung-ho” with the nation’s health, with government advisers saying dropping restrictions could lead to rapid epidemic growth as people change their behaviour more swiftly than at previous times in the pandemic.
So far the government has sought to keep the economy open by combining mass rapid testing with a legal requirement for five days of self-isolation, an approach that enabled the country to navigate the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
With British scientists detected variants, the government said it would retain some surveillance systems and plans for contingency measures if new variants appear.
On Sunday , when asked if he was taking a risk with the pandemic, Johnson replied, the government could not keep spending at a rate of $2.7 billion (2 billion pounds) a month on testing.
Johnson has also come under pressure from members of his Conservative Party to scrap COVID-19 restrictions, which they see as draconian.
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