Boris Johnson will give a press conference today on the end of Covid restrictions
England are set to find out the plan to end the last remaining Covid-19 restrictions when the Prime Minister addresses the country this evening.
Boris Johnson’s cabinet will meet on Monday morning to finalize the “Living with Covid” plan before hosting a press conference from Downing Street, scheduled for this evening.
Self-isolation laws and ending or changes to the free Covid-19 testing system should be discussed. Westminster sets the policies for England, while the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set theirs.
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Mr Johnson’s Living with Covid proposal will focus on ‘finally giving people their freedom back’ after ‘one of the most difficult times in our country’s history’, the Prime Minister has said.
The legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid could be scrapped as early as Thursday, The Mail On Sunday reported.
The Prime Minister will set out a timetable to reduce free coronavirus testing – although it is expected to be kept for the elderly and more vulnerable.
What time is Boris Johnson’s speech on Living with Covid?
Mr Johnson is due to meet his Cabinet on Monday morning, before making an announcement in Parliament around 2.30pm.
The live press conference is scheduled for this “evening”, reports the Press Association. This would indicate a start time of around 5-6pm, as has been the case for the Prime Minister’s live press conference during the coronavirus pandemic, although final times have yet to be confirmed.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the UK now has a ‘wall of immunity’ thanks to vaccines “but the decision on when and how to reduce restrictions is enormously difficult.”
He said the benefits of the restrictions are obvious in “reducing the chains of transmission, the risks of people getting infected, the burden on the health system”, but the downsides of the restrictions are harder to assess.
“They include things, just from a health perspective, like the impact on hospitals of staff self-isolating, the inability to perform operations, there will be surgery canceled today which can be critical for people because of staff who are on leave during this period; the impact on education, the workplace and the economy.
“The economic and mental health impacts will have longer-term consequences. So if we could find a metric that brings it all together, we could figure out exactly the right time (to lift the restrictions). »
Sir Andrew said ‘there is no right or wrong answer to this because we don’t have a metric that helps us get there’.
Business Minister Paul Scully said it would be up to employers and employees to make self-isolation decisions.
He told Sky News: ‘I would say it’s like any disease, frankly, any communicable disease that you would say stay home for.
He said if an employee had the flu they would be expected to stay home, “but that will be up to them or their employer”.
Asked what action employees should take if their employers tried to force them in if they were sick with Covid, Mr Scully said: ‘That’s why we have to make sure we have really good advice for people. employers.
“But as I said, there will come a time when the pandemic shifts to a more endemic approach to Covid, the same way flu and other viruses are treated, and that’s what we need to get back to. .
“But it’s a delicate balance, clearly, and that’s why the Cabinet meeting this morning, to review the science, to review that balance and discuss it, and then obviously the Prime Minister (will come) before Parliament to make his announcement.”
The government has decided “to abdicate its own responsibility to look after its people”, said Professor Robert West, a health psychologist from University College London and member of the group Scientific Pandemic Insights on Behaviors (Spi-B ) which feeds Sage
Speaking on a personal basis, he said one in 20 people currently have Covid-19 and 150 people die every day.
“It seems what the government has said is that they accept that the country will have to live with somewhere between 20,000 and 80,000 Covid deaths per year and that they will not really do anything about it,” did he declare. “Now that seems irresponsible to me.”
He added that there were “a lot of deaths from heart disease and cancer, but we don’t just say, ‘Well, we have to live with it’.
“We do a huge amount with heart disease, cancer and other forms of death to try to prevent and treat them, and so it seems a bit strange to really say ‘Well, Covid, we’re going to deal with this differently. We are not going to try to prevent it”.
Professor West said he would be “very surprised” if scrapping the rules was economical, given the costs of hospital admissions and the impact of things like the long Covid on the economy.
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