Boris Johnson covid announcement: PM rips up restrictions as work from home, face mask & vaccine passport rules to END

BORIS Johnson yesterday announced he's scrapping almost all of England's Covid restrictions in a huge boost to millions of Brits.

The PM said he's binning all of the Plan B measures which were introduced last month to help fight off the Omicron wave.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid formally announced that work from home guidance has been immediately withdrawn – meaning people can head back to the office from today.

Also, so-called vaccine passports, used by people to prove their vaccination status or a negative test to enter large venues, will also be binned from midnight next Wednesday.

And in a surprise move the PM also declared wearing masks in public spaces like trains, buses, and shops will fallaway at the same time.

Read our covid live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    When will the Sue Gray report be published?

    Ms Gray's findings are expected to be published in the coming week – as opposed to months.

    But there is no timescale for the inquiry.

    Internal inquiries into allegations of staff bullying by Home Secretary Priti Patel took six months, while those around MP Damian Green and pornographic images on his work computer lasted about two months.

    The Gray inquiry does not have the remit of a parliamentary or independent inquiry – such as the one into the Grenfell Tower fire or the forthcoming probe into the government's handling of the pandemic.

  • Louis Allwood

    Who is Sue Gray?

    Sue Gray, a senior civil servant some have described as "the most powerful person you've never heard of", is currently examining evidence around several gatherings that may have broken coronavirus legislation.

    Ms Gray joined the civil service straight from school and worked her way up to the Cabinet Office, where for six years, she led the government's Propriety and Ethics team which provides advice to government departments on standards issues.

    Polly Mackenzie – who worked as a special adviser in the Cabinet Office – told the BBC's Profile programme in 2017: "Sue has been there for so long, she knows everything that anybody has ever done wrong."

  • Louis Allwood

    It's 'all in your head'

    UP to three-quarters of side effects caused by the Covid jab might be "all in the head", experts say.

    A landmark new study from scientists at Harvard reveals millions could be suffering with the 'Nocebo' effect.

    In the new study, researchers drew on reports from 44,000 people – half of whom had actually been given a placebo, or fake vaccine, such as a saline solution, the Daily Mail reports.

    Many of those studied said they'd suffered a side effect – but in reality, they were likely linking unrelated issues to the jab.

    The scientists looked at side effects reported by the 22,000 people give the vaccine in clinical trials, and compared that to a control group given the fake jab.

    In the vaccinated group, approximately 46 per cent suffered adverse effects like a headache or exhaustion after the first vaccine. This rose to 61 per cent of the group after the second jab.

    Around a third of participants given the placebo group reported adverse effects such as a headache, with the proportion dropping slightly after the second dose.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM hails success of UK booster campaign

    Triumphant Mr Johnson hailed the success of the booster campaign that has allowed him to rip up nearly all remaining curbs.

    Volunteers with The Sun's Jabs Army have been working heroically to help turbo-charge the rollout.

    Mr Johnson also felt vindicated for resisting doomster calls to impose tougher measures as Omicron surged over Christmas.

    The PM told MPs: "Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns… While we must continue to remain cautious, the data are showing that time and again, this government, got the toughest decisions, right."

  • Joseph Gamp

    At-risk kids under 12 to be vaccinated, Javid confirms

    At-risk children under the age of 12 will be vaccinated, the Health Secretary told a Downing Street press conference.

    Mr Javid said the JCVI advises "that we should vaccinate under-12s that are at risk and that is exactly what we plan to do, and we will start that this month, but they are keeping that under review to see if we should expand that more broadly to everyone in that cohort".

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said: "The Cabinet concluded that 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 in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Vaccine passports will be DUMPED next week

    Hated vaccine passports will be dumped along with requirement to wear face masks anywhere indoors next week.

    The guidance to work from home has been dropped effective immediately – meaning Brits can go back to the office tomorrow.

    The remaining rules will expire on January 26 meaning the changes will kick in next Thursday morning.

    Mr Javid said Omicron is "in retreat" but warned that now is not the "finish line" in the fight against coronavirus.

    Saying there is a fall in infections and hospital admissions, Mr Javid said: "This plan has worked and the data shows that Omicron is in retreat.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Boris Johnson insists he WON’T resign

    Boris faced jeers as he entered the chamber today and immediately had to fend off questions calling on him to resign.

    Asked first up if he was going to quit, the PM said: “No, but I apologise sincerely for any misjudgements that were made.”

    A contrite Boris later added: “I entirely understand people’s feelings and I entirely support obeying the rules when you make the rules.”

    Minutes before he got to his feet in the Commons the PM was rocked by the news of a Tory MP defecting to Labour amid a growing plot to oust him.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Labour supports restrictions ease

    Keir Starmer has said “We will support the relaxation of Plan B as long as the science says that it is safe.

    “Can the PM share the scientific evidence behind his decision and reassure the public he is acting to protect the health not just his job.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    ‘Epicentre’ shifts as cases fall

    All 377 local authority areas have seen a fall in infections in the last week and the interactive map shows how your local area fares.

    It was yesterday reported that Covid infections were down 22 per cent on last week and the Prime Minister is today poised to announce the end of some Plan B restrictions.

    A cluster of infections has been detected in the North East of England, which also currently has the highest R rate in the country, sitting between 1.4 and 1.7 with the English average between 1.1-1.5.

    Areas in Northern Ireland had previously made up the most infected areas, but that has now shifted to the North East.

    The top three most infected areas in the country are all in the North East and the region also makes up the majority of the top ten infected places in the country.

    South Tyneside has the highest rate in the UK, with 2,526 new cases in the seven days to January 14 – the equivalent of 1,671.4 per 100,000 people.

    This is down from a rate of 2,738.6 for the seven days to January 7.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Theatre industry says end of Plan B measures 'a confidence boost'

    The Society of London Theatre (Solt) and UK Theatre have welcomed the Government's decision to end Plan B coronavirus measures as a "confidence boost" for the sector.

    Workers can return to offices and face masks can soon be removed under plans set out by Boris Johnson on Wednesday.

    The relaxing of rules also means theatres, nightclubs and other venues will no longer require a Covid pass for entry.

    Outgoing chief executive of the sister bodies, Julian Bird, said: "The relaxing of Plan B measures, particularly the end of mandatory home working, should provide a confidence boost to the theatre industry after several weeks of turbulence and uncertainty.

    "Throughout the pandemic, theatres UK-wide have worked tirelessly to offer world-class entertainment and audiences can be assured that venues using the See It Safely mark, developed by Solt and UK Theatre, are operating in accordance with the latest Government guidelines.

    "As restrictions ease, we continue to ask theatregoers to wear face coverings throughout our buildings unless exempt, to protect our hardworking staff, performers and fellow audience members."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Young Labour Official Twitter account have not welcomed Christian Wakeford

    Moments after it was revealed that Christian Wakeford had defected to the Labour Party, Young Labour did not appear to be pleased with the move.

    The Official account tweeted “Christian Wakeford MP should not be admitted to the Labour Party.

    “He has consistently voted against the interests of working-class people; for the £20 universal credit cut, for the Nationality and Borders Bill and for the Police and Crime Bill.

    “Young Labour does not welcome him.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM to fight any no confidence vote & next general election

    Boris Johnson will fight any no confidence vote launched against him by his own MPs and expects to fight the next general election, No 10 has said, after he was urged to resign by a Tory grandee and lost one of his newest MPs to Labour.

    The Prime Minister was told by former minister and senior Tory MP David Davis to "in the name of God, go" in the Commons on Wednesday, soon after Bury South MP Christian Wakeford – who was elected in 2019 with just a 402-vote majority – staged a dramatic defection to Labour minutes before Prime Minister's Questions.

    Mr Johnson went into the Commons with his premiership on life support, as a group of Tories who won their seats in the 2019 election landslide appeared to have lost faith in their boss.

    The anger levelled at the PM was not contained to one wing of the Conservative Party, and Mr Johnson's press secretary said he would have further meetings with MPs on Wednesday as he attempts to shore up support on his back benches.

    Referring to Mr Wakeford, the press secretary said: "I think we're obviously sorry to see a colleague – who was elected by constituents, who voted for a Boris Johnson-led government – leave and attempt to put Keir Starmer into No 10, which will be a disaster for the country."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Major Covid developments

    • The PM endured a bruising PMQs as a Tory MP defected to Labour
    • Masks in will be dropped in classrooms tomorrow as revealed by The Sun
    • Self-isolation rules should expire on March 24, the PM said
    • Mr Johnson said that Omicron has now "peaked nationally"
    • BoJo warned boosters will be increasingly needed for international travel
    • The PM resisted pressure to scrap mandatory vaccination for NHS staff

    WFH scrapped IMMEDIATELY with office workers due back from tomorrow

    BORIS Johnson has announced that working from home is to be scrapped with immediate effect – meaning that workers will be due back into the office from tomorrow.

    The Prime Minister ripped up current Plan B requirements, and has dumped vaccine passports and facemasks.

    Brits will be expected to go back into the office tomorrow as the work from home guidance has been dropped immediately.

    The remaining rules will expire on January 26 meaning the changes will kick in next week.

    Mr Johnson said: "The Cabinet concluded that 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 in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire."

    PM not on borrowed time says Sajid Javid

    Asked if he thinks Boris Johnson is living on borrowed time, and whether he would again run for the Tory leadership, Sajid Javid said: "We have a leader. We have a Prime Minister."

    The Health Secretary told a Downing Street press conference: "The Prime Minister is busy delivering for this country. He's delivered on Brexit, he's delivered on jobs, he's delivering on fighting this pandemic.

    "And I've got a job and that's a very important job, and that's health and social care."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Infections significantly down compared peak at end of 2021

      Covid-19 infections are significantly down compared with the peak at the end of 2021, the chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency has said.

      Dr Susan Hopkins told a Downing Street news conference that the latest seven-day average was 93,200 compared with almost 225,000 on December 29.

      She said that hospital cases were back down to below 20,000 while there were only 703 on mechanical ventilators – back down to levels last seen in July.

      "This is reflecting our high levels of vaccination in the population and also the reduced severity we have seen with Omicron," she said.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Sajid Javid says he fully supports the PM

      Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he "fully supports the Prime Minister" as he waits for a report into whether he misled Parliament over claims he attended parties at Downing Street during lockdown.

      Mr Javid told a press conference: "I fully support the Prime Minister and as I said a moment ago, it's important to me and to the country that he's come to the House to apologise.

      "I think it's right that we're waiting for the report and when that is completed and the investigation establishes the facts that the Prime Minister will come back and answer further questions.

      "I think if you asked me about me, I have observed the rules and you know I can say with full confidence I have absolutely observed Covid-19 rules at all times, and like millions of people across the country, it hasn't been easy.

      "My mum lives alone, I couldn't go and see her. I couldn't go to a close friend's funeral. It wasn't easy but it was the right thing to do.

      "I fully support the Prime Minister and as I said a moment ago, it's important to me and to the country that he's come to the House to apologise. I think it's right that we're waiting for the outcome of the report. And when that is completed."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Around 52m Brits have had a first dose

      Dr Susan Hopkins says 52 million people have received a first dose.

      She also says 36.6 million have had boosters.

    • Joseph Gamp

      We are not at the finish line yet, says health secretary

      Sajid Javid said Omicron is "in retreat" but warned that now is not the "finish line" in the fight against coronavirus.

      Saying there is a fall in infections and hospital admissions, Mr Javid told a Downing Street press conference: "This plan has worked and the data shows that Omicron is in retreat."

      He described the relaxation of measures as a "major milestone", adding: "But it's not the end of the road and we shouldn't see this as the finish line because we cannot eradicate this virus and its future variants.

      "Instead we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we have to live with flu. And we will be setting out our long-term plan for living with Covid-19 this spring."

    • Joseph Gamp

      Sajid says Boris was right to apologise

      He also says he and the "rest of the house", are awaiting the results of the investigation.

      He also points out that he personally adhered to all the covid guidelines "at all times".

      The health secretary said he is also proud of the British people in the fight against the virus.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Self-isolation to be replaced with 'guidance and advice'

      The health secretary said the government will end self-isolation and will be replaced with guidance.

      Mr Javid said: "We are looking to replace legal requirements on self-isolation with guidance and advice.

      "Changes to visiting care homes will be announced in the coming days".

    • Joseph Gamp

      At-risk children under the age of 12 will be vaccinated

      At-risk children under the age of 12 will be vaccinated, the Health Secretary told a Downing Street press conference.

      Sajid Javid said the JCVI advises "that we should vaccinate under-12s that are at risk and that is exactly what we plan to do, and we will start that this month, but they are keeping that under review to see if we should expand that more broadly to everyone in that cohort".

    • Joseph Gamp

      Sajid asks people to act responsibly

      The public can do this by maintaining hygiene and getting tested.

      The jabs got us here – and can keep us here too, he says.

      He again urges people to come forward to have all three jabs.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Plan to live with Covid coming in the Spring

      The health secretary says we must proceed with caution.

      He urges everyone to do what they can to keep the virus at bay.

      He says a plan to "live with Covid is coming in the Spring".

    • Joseph Gamp

      A major milestone – but not the end of the road

      Sajid says we are far from beating Covid altogether.

      We cannot eradicate this virus and future variants, he says.

      We must learn to live with it in the same was as the flu.

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