Businesses welcome the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions in the UK

Businesses hailed the government’s decision to lift most coronavirus restrictions in the UK from next week as a welcome boost to city centers and consumer confidence, despite the challenges. Healthcare leaders warn that the NHS is still grappling with the wave of Omicrons.

Boris Johnson confirmed to the House of Commons on Wednesday that Britain’s Plan B measures, including mandatory mask wearing in public, working from home and vaccination passports for large venues, will expire after January 26.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is pressure to resign of the claims, he laid out the coronavirus rules during the lockdown, adding that he wanted to speed up the process of ending the self-isolation ordinances “as data allows” it. These requests will expire on March 24.

Johnson also announced that from Thursday, the government will no longer require masks in classrooms.

Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, said in the spring the government would “set out how we are going to live with Covid”, adding: “We will have to find a way to get rid of almost all of it.” these restrictions and get a full life back to normal.”

The hospitality and retail sectors – hit hard by reduced customs during the festive period – welcomed the impending lifting of restrictions.

Michael Kill, chief executive officer of the Association of Night Time Industries, said nightclubs and bars will “finally be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty and no has a debilitating limitation”.

Kate Nicholls, head of UKHospitality, said it was an “extremely welcome step towards enhancing consumer and business confidence, and enabling a faster recovery”.

The graph shows the declining case rate across the UK, according to multiple sources

Leaders of some businesses said they would ask employees to start returning to the office – at least part-time – from the end of the month.

“We are expecting a quicker recovery now – everyone knows about the maneuver – and this is good news for small and midsize businesses,” said Kevin Ellis, president and senior partner at PwC. downtown depends on office workers,” said Kevin Ellis, president and senior partner at PwC. He added that it took two months to return to 80% capacity in the office after lockdown restrictions were finally lifted in the summer.

The decision to end Plan B, triggered in early December in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, comes as the latest data confirm Britain has passed its peak of infections and hospital pressure.

An estimated 3.4 million people in the UK were infected with coronavirus in the week to January 15, according to the Office of National Statistics infections survey, down from a peak of 4.3 million infections reported. recorded in the 7 days to 6 January. In the UK, infection rates have decreased. from one in 15 to one in 20.

Graph showing how Covid hospitalizations are currently decreasing across all UK countries and regions

But Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation, which represents organizations in the healthcare sector, warned that Covid-19 had “not magically gone”. He said the NHS was still “under considerable pressure” from Covid-related hospital admissions, staff illnesses and efforts to tackle the backlog of treatment.

“We will have more freedoms, but the cost – at least in the short term – will be more people are likely to get sick with Covid and the health service will continue to have to deal with the burdens of the pandemic. the extra weight that this creates,” Taylor said.

108,069 Covid cases were recorded on Wednesday, down 17% from the same day last week, and Covid hospital admissions are falling across the UK.

Enrollment rates have fallen 10% from their early January peak across the UK, with the seven-day average falling from 2,041 two weeks ago to 1,839 for the week ending January 17.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents healthcare leaders, warned that the increase was not over as some hospital mandates had not yet peaked.

“We have to keep everything on the table. . . “If we see cases start to recur,” said John Edmunds, professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. But he added that he doesn’t expect a “strong rebound” in social mixing and transmission as people’s own actions have helped keep the Omicron wave in check.

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