Downing Street indicated today that Boris Johnson will announce this week whether he is lifting Plan B restrictions.
Work from home, mandatory indoor mask wearing and vaccination passports are due to expire next Wednesday.
Number 10 resolved this morning to reveal whether it intends to extend the measures beyond January 26 in due course.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think what you expect of us, as we have always tried to do, is to give as much time as possible.
“I don’t have a specific date for you. But we will certainly try to announce our status in advance for these changes to take effect. »
The spokesman pointed to “encouraging” signs that Britain is on an Omicron bump.
The prime minister is expected to work from home and the controversial Covid passport will spark yet another rebellion of lawmakers hating the lockdown.
But the need to wear face coverings in many public places, such as trains, buses and shops, is expected to remain in place until a further drop in omicron cases.
Two senior cabinet ministers have indicated that the prime minister is preparing to end Plan B restrictions next week.
Today Education Secretary Nadim Jahvi said the ‘numbers look positive’ in the UK’s fight against Covid.
He added: “I believe that when we see this on 26 January, we will be in a better position to lift some of these restrictions.
“I think we are seeing epidemic endemic transmission of this virus.
“I hope we will be one of the first major economies to show the world how you go from pandemic to endemic. ,
He also suggested that the requirement of masks in classrooms could be reduced as part of the easing of restrictions.
Instead, from next Wednesday, face coverings may be required only in common areas of schools such as hallways and canteens.
And yesterday Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden was equally optimistic as he said Plan B would remain in place for the ‘shortest possible period’.
He said: “I have no doubt about what kind of burden this puts on hospitality, on wider businesses, on schools, and I want us to get rid of them if possible.
“The signs are encouraging but, clearly, we will wait to see the data before making this final decision. ,
A series of highly positive studies suggest that Omicron is milder than other strains, with the first official UK report showing the risk of hospitalization is 50–70% lower than that of Delta.
Health officials have repeatedly said that COVID booster shots protect against omicrons and give the best chance of surviving the pandemic.
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Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping to get critical additional vaccines into the arms of the British to avoid the need for further sanctions.
The legal basis of Plan B expires on January 26 and the restrictions will disappear unless they are renewed by the Prime Minister.
The top Tories are urging Boris to lift all sanctions as he seeks to stabilize his post as prime minister amid the No. 10 party scandal.
A cabinet minister said: “It seems that scientific voices are becoming less pessimistic.
“If we have to wear masks for a while, that’s fine for me.
“The most important thing is to eliminate the work-from-home advice. This will help revive the economy. ,
The Prime Minister’s senior team was briefed on the data “where everything is going in the right direction”.
And a decision not to renew vaccine passports for mass events such as football matches would spark another Commons rebellion by Tory lawmakers.
A source told The Times: “There has always been a very high threshold for politics. Given the evolution of affairs, it would be difficult to justify its renewal. »
Even leading scientists who warned about Omicron’s dangers now say Britain is in a better place and measures could be eased.
Scotland and Wales went ahead and imposed tougher Christmas restrictions than England, but are now dropping them.
Wales and Scotland ease restrictions
On Friday, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that large outdoor events such as football and rugby matches could take place again.
He outlined plans to lift almost all restrictions and return to a zero alert level on January 28, two days after England.
The Welsh Conservatives said the Labor administration in Cardiff had “exaggerated” towards Omicron and should have followed the No 10 approach.
Chief Andrew RT Davies said: “Labour ministers have clearly overreacted to Omicron and this has caused considerable pain and suffering to families and businesses in Wales.
“Unfortunately, Labor has left Wales as an outlier in the UK with the toughest restrictions on sport, outdoor activities and hospitality.
“The UK recall campaign has been a resounding success and as such the Labor Party must now act quickly and lift restrictions as we continue on the road to recovery and as a nation with Covid 19 Learning to live.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced last week the easing of her country’s strict restrictions.
He has been criticized by Scottish hotel businesses for insisting on tighter restrictions, which have hit businesses while doing little to contain the virus.
The Tories are now hoping voters will benefit from the prime minister’s decision to keep England relatively free of sanctions.
A Tory strategist told the FT: ‘Boris’ polling numbers are improving as the tide of Covid turns over Christmas and the prime minister’s decision to lay down the line has paid off.
“The same thing could happen again in February – or so he hopes.”
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