Boris Johnson confirms pandemic restrictions will end in England
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday that COVID-19 restrictions in England would end starting later this week.
Johnson said that starting on Thursday, residents will not be legally required to enter quarantine periods if they test positive for the virus, though they will be advised to stay home, Bloomberg News reported. Johnson also said that universal COVID-19 testing will end on April 1.
Other changes include vaccinated contacts of those who test positive will no longer have to take tests for seven days, guidance that school children be tested twice a week will be ended and employees no longer have to inform their employers about their status if they test positive.
Johnson’s “Living with Covid” plan comes amid the recent decline of daily COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations, though his critics have argued that the prime minister is moving too fast, Bloomberg noted.
“Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental well-being,” Johnson told the House of Commons. “We do not need to pay that cost any longer.”
Johnson also said the government will have a strong surveillance capability, noting that other mutations of the virus can’t be ruled out, Bloomberg reported.
“Let us learn to live with this virus,” Johnson added. “It is time that we got our confidence back.”
Johnson is currently facing political scrutiny after a long-awaited report last month found “multiple failures of leadership and judgement” over gatherings held on government property amid the ongoing pandemic.
Johnson apologized for his actions.
“I want to say sorry … I understand the anger that people feel. We must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn,” Johnson told the House of Commons last month.
Health officials have recorded more than 161,000 COVID-related deaths in the United Kingdom, giving it the second-highest total COVID fatality count in the continent, Bloomberg News noted.
–Updated at 2:18 p.m.