Plan B restrictions have been lifted across England today marking a major step forward in the fight against covid.
This means it’s not now compulsory to wear a mask in shops and on public transport, though some retailers may still have some request measures in place.
People are no longer being advised to work from home and covid passes required for nightclubs and larger events have now become voluntary, though still recommended in health, educational and care settings.
We should also remember the government changed its guidelines last week to cease the wearing of masks in secondary school classrooms.
In terms of care homes, residents will have to wait until next Monday before unlimited visitors are allowed as Omicron variant restrictions are eased.
All care homes in England will be required to follow outbreak management rules for 14 days instead of the previous 28. Self-isolation periods will be cut from 15 to 10 days for those who test positive with further reductions if they test negative on days five and six.
The return to plan A comes as we see stable hospital admissions alongside a decline in Omicron infections. Asian Standard has also learned the number of people admitted to intensive care is continuing to fall.
Plan B measures were initially introduced on December 8, to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and get more people jabbed.
The Get Boosted Now appeal was launched, bringing the date for all adults to be offered a booster to the New Year. This target was reached, and more than 37 million boosters administered
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he will be setting out a plan by spring on how the Government thinks the country can “learn to live with Covid”.
He told the Health and Social Care Committee that vaccines, treatments such as antivirals, and testing will be “top of the list”.
Mr Javid said: “We’ve got to find a way to live with it (Covid) in the same way, let’s say, we live with flu, you know, and I’m not for a second sort of saying it’s like flu, you know, look at sadly all the deaths we’ve had from Covid – over 150,000 from the start.
“It’s about understanding we do now have defences which we didn’t have before and just as sort of flu doesn’t stop society and stop life, we mustn’t let Covid do that anymore.”