‘Encouraging indicators’ plan B Covid measures might quickly be lifted in England | Coronavirus

Ministers are seeing “encouraging” indicators that plan B coronavirus restrictions in England could possibly be lifted in 10 days’ time, the co-chair of the Conservative celebration Oliver Dowden has mentioned.

Present measures in England, together with steering to earn a living from home and the widespread use of face coverings, had been imposed in early December to assist sort out the unfold of Omicron. They’re set to be reviewed on 26 January.

Within the clearest trace but that some or the entire measures can be eliminated on that date, Dowden, who additionally serves as minister with out portfolio, mentioned that whereas the federal government would evaluate additional information this week earlier than making a call, the “indicators are encouraging”.

Covid circumstances continued to fall on Sunday, with an additional 70,924 lab-confirmed Covid-19 circumstances recorded within the UK as of 9am. The determine represents a 50% fall from the 141,471 circumstances reported the earlier Sunday, though the brand new figures don’t embody information from Scotland, due to an IT downside.

Dowden’s feedback got here after well being and scientific specialists expressed cautious optimism this weekend that the Covid scenario was enhancing.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) chief medical adviser, mentioned circumstances seemed to be “plateauing” in components of the UK, and added that whereas circumstances had been nonetheless comparatively excessive, there had additionally been a slowdown in hospital admissions.

Prof Linda Bauld, a professor of public well being on the College of Edinburgh and chief social coverage adviser to the Scottish authorities, mentioned Omicron circumstances within the UK seemed to be “stabilising”. Dr Chris Smith, a guide virologist and lecturer at Cambridge College, mentioned the newest information gave him “nice trigger for optimism”.

In the meantime, the period of time individuals with Covid-19 in England should spend in self-isolation is to be lower to 5 full days from Monday.

Dowden instructed Sky Information’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme: “It has at all times been my hope that we might have the plan B restrictions for the shortest interval potential. I’m underneath little doubt the form of burdens this places hospitality, wider enterprise, faculties and so forth underneath, and I need us to do away with these if we presumably can. The indicators are encouraging however, clearly, we are going to wait to see the info forward of that remaining choice.”

Sir Keir Starmer mentioned he hoped plan B restrictions could possibly be lifted “as quickly as potential”. Talking on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, the Labour chief mentioned: “I believe the earlier we will elevate the ultimate restrictions, the higher. I believe that’s what the entire nation need. It’s necessary that we’re led by the science on this. We had entry to the federal government scientific and medical advisers, and that’s helped us type our views.

“I hope these restrictions could be lifted as quickly as potential, however I need them to be lifted as a result of the medical science says they need to be lifted, not just because the prime minister is in an actual mess and he’s desperately attempting to get out of it.

“So, if it’s the precise factor to elevate these restrictions, we are going to vote to elevate these restrictions. However we’ll be led by the science as we at all times have been, not by the politics of propping up a damaged prime minister.”

The shadow well being secretary, Wes Streeting, mentioned he couldn’t be assured the federal government was not trying to elevate plan B measures in an try and shore up Boris Johnson’s management.

He instructed Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “If the prime minister or the well being secretary from the Conservative celebration is coming ahead saying, ‘We’re going to take away plan B measures’, I need to be completely assured they’re making that call within the nationwide curiosity and never within the celebration curiosity, for celebration administration causes. I don’t have complete confidence about that.”

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