England on Thursday left behind almost all recent restrictions imposed to fight COVID-19, with which the government hopes people will get used to living as they do with the flu.
This wind of freedom is fitting for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is weaker than ever at the helm of government due to a party scandal held in defiance of anti-coronavirus rules in Downing Street.
After ending the recommendation a week ago to work from home for those who can, England is now abandoning another restriction – among the lightest in Europe – introduced in December in the face of the increase in the Omicron case: the obligation to wear a mask inside public places and a vaccination passport to attend events with an audience big.
“As COVID becomes a pandemic, we must replace legal obligations with advice and recommendations,” Boris Johnson told MPs last week.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, opposing the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask on public transport, has announced that he will maintain the measure in the capital.
“It looks like we’re back in London as before,” said Elizabeth Hines, 71, in an interview with AFP near St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of the British capital. “We realize how much theater and great performances we’ve missed.”
«Les choses doivent revenir à la normale», ajoute-t-elle, expliquant qu’elle est atteinte d’un mélanome, mais qu’elle n’a jamais eu le coronavirus: «J’ai eu de la chance, je touche Wood.” “We don’t know what tomorrow will make, you have to enjoy life,” she asserts.
end of solitude
Lewis Colbyn, un barman de 39 ans qui a déjà eu la COVID-19 et qui ne craint pas de l’attraper de nouveau, aborde cette nouvelle phase avec optimisme et prudence: «Je ne suis pas scientifique, je toutes’ai pas answers.” “Maybe it’s too early, maybe too late, I don’t know,” he continues, saying he will continue to wear the mask on transportation and in stores.
Plus réticente que le reste du Royaume-Uni (Écosse, Pays de Galles et Ireland du Nord) à établir des restrictions, l’Angleterre les avait, une première fois, levées en quasi-totalité le 19 juillet dernojourmmé de le « freedom”.
But the emergence of Omicron, which was more contagious than Delta, prompted Boris Johnson’s government to launch its “Plan B”, despite the opposition of part of its majority.
These measures were intended to enhance the protection of the population thanks to the recall campaign and to continue trying to persuade the rebel to vaccinate. Thus 37 million booster doses were administered, allowing, and assuring the government, to reduce serious cases and hospitalizations and reduce stress on the health system.
According to the latest figures, 64% of the population over 12 years old received a third dose.
With the number of cases exploding over the holidays, Boris Johnson has resisted calls for tighter restrictions. He believes the facts have proven true: Hospitals have remained suspended, the number of patients on ventilators has never increased, and cases have decreased significantly.
However, the UK, among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with nearly 155,000 deaths, continues to see nearly 100,000 new registered cases per day.
According to a study published by Imperial College London, the level of infection is still high, especially among children and adolescents. Of the 3,500 participants in this large study who tested positive for the virus between January 5 and 20, two-thirds of them had already had the virus.
The prime minister hopes that, in March, he can lift the obligation to self-isolate if a positive test occurs, “just as there is no legal obligation for people with influenza to self-isolate”.
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