LONDON – After nearly two years of restrictions, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday it was time to live with the Corona virus, announcing the end of England’s remaining legal restrictions and most free tests, and making his country out of control in its handling of the Corona virus. epidemic.
Despite being careful not to officially declare an end to the country’s health crisis, Mr Johnson has sought to put the country firmly on a path back to normal life, albeit only a day after declaring that Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for the virus.
Some critics say the news underscores the dangers of moving too quickly to remove restrictions, while political opponents say decisions are being made in Downing Street to divert attention from Police investigation On whether Mr Johnson has broken his own coronavirus laws.
However, the statement is another political milestone for Johnson, as it puts his government ahead of most other governments in Europe at the speed with which it hopes to return to normal life. The new plan means that from Thursday, routine contact tracing will end and those who test positive will no longer be legally obligated to self-isolate, although they will be urged to do so.
The free tests, which are currently widely available, will end on April 1 for all but the most vulnerable, effectively forcing people to pay to see if they are infected. The enhanced sick pay payment to support those suffering from the coronavirus will expire in late March.
Speaking to Parliament, Johnson said he was laying out a strategy for coping with the coronavirus, rather than declaring the end of the pandemic.
“It’s time to get our trust back,” Johnson said. “We don’t need laws to force people to consider others, we can count on that sense of responsibility to one another.” “Let’s learn how to live with this virus,” he added.
Johnson wished Queen Elizabeth a speedy recovery, and said her illness was a reminder that “the virus has not gone away”. But he said, “While the epidemic is not yet over, we are now past the peak of the Omicron wave.”
The rules will only apply to England, if Parliament approves the changes. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own authorities on health issues and make their own rules and are usually more careful.
Even some of Mr Johnson’s lawmakers have expressed concern about the new strategy, particularly due to restrictions on the availability of free tests.
On Monday, the cabinet’s discussion on the details of the move was postponed to end most of the free tests At the last minute, as news reports said, there were disagreements among ministers over the ongoing costs of the coronavirus measures. Over the weekend, Johnson said the tests were costing taxpayers about 2 billion pounds, or 2.7 billion dollars, a month.
Tim Lawton, a Conservative MP, said the country must “learn to live with Covid and not shut everything down and back off until it’s gone”. But, speaking before the announcement, he told the BBC he had “minor concerns in terms of where I think we still need to make testing widely available, because I think that is the reassurance that people can have that they have taken all possible precautions and not They want to infect others.”
Health Minister Sajid Javid said earlier on Monday that the second booster vaccination would be offered for adults aged 75 or over, people living in nursing homes and those aged 12 and with conditions that suppress their immune system. .
“We know that immunity to Covid-19 is starting to wane over time,” Mr. Javid said in a statement. This is why we are offering a spring boost to those people at risk of contracting the dangerous Covid-19 virus to ensure they maintain a high level of protection. So far, nearly 38 million Britons have obtained all three snapshots that have already been submitted.
The current restrictions were due to expire on March 24 and, given his precarious political position, Mr Johnson may have struggled to persuade lawmakers from his Conservative Party to agree to any extension of the legal requirements for self-isolation, with fines imposed on those. Who breaks the rules.
Some members of Johnson’s party’s libertarian wing are likely to pressure the government to withdraw its current guidance to wear face coverings in crowded and confined spaces, given the falling case numbers, although the government did not announce the move on Monday.
The Latest available stats It showed 38,409 daily cases and 15 deaths within 28 days of testing positive.
The opposition Labor Party called on the government to publish the scientific evidence behind its decision.
“This is a half-completed declaration of a government paralyzed by chaos and incompetence,” said Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, who has criticized the decision to end free testing for most people.
Mr Starmer said the government is offering an “approach that seems to believe that living with Covid means simply ignoring it”.
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