British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday the end of all COVID-19 measures in England that were imposed to tackle the highly contagious omicron variant.
Effective immediately, high school students will no longer be required to wear face masks in classrooms. From next week, the mask will not be compulsory anywhere, including in public transport and in shops. However, Johnson said his government would continue to advise people to wear masks in indoor or crowded settings.
Work-from-home guidelines will also be lifted next week, along with mandatory COVID-19 passes at large sites, although businesses are allowed to use them if they wish.
People will still have to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, but the Prime Minister has said there will “soon be a time” when it won’t be mandatory. The measure is due to expire in March, but Johnson said that date could be brought forward.
The so-called Plan B restrictions were introduced in England last December amid a surge of COVID-19 cases as omicron spread rapidly across the UK. The daily number of new cases in the country remains high but appears to have declined over the past week with hospital admissions, while deaths are rising.