Measures to stem spread of omicron in UK dropped

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen during a photo op with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during his visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen during a photo op with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during his visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced that the United Kingdom is set to end all COVID-19 restrictions that were aimed at stemming the spread of the omicron variant.

"Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns ... but this government took a different path," Johnson told lawmakers, according to Reuters.

He also reportedly noted that early decisions the government made to limit the spread of the virus resulted in a decline in the number of people going into intensive care due to their symptoms.

"Our scientists believe it is likely that the omicron wave has now peaked nationally ... because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the plan B measures, we can return to plan A," he added.

Britain was among the first countries in the world to implement limits on international travel at the discovery of the omicron variant. In December, the country also advised citizens to work from home if possible and rolled out vaccine passes and mask mandates in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus, Reuters reported.

Johnson said during his Wednesday announcement that measures that were implemented as part of his "plan B" would no longer be legally enforced, marking a large contrast to other parts of the world where lockdowns are being more frequently enforced, according to the news outlet.

China cracked down on the spread of the omicron variant in recent weeks by implementing increasing quarantines and calling on citizens to handle international mail with gloves and masks.

In contrast, Johnson said that if data supports it, he may call for the end of legal enforcement of self-isolation after a positive COVID-19 test, Reuters noted.

"But to make that possible, we must all remain cautious during these last weeks of winter," he reportedly said. "The pandemic is not over."

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