BRITS can look forward to "the progressive lifting of restrictions" if the NHS rides out a tough few weeks, Michael Gove said today.
The top Cabinet Minister fuelled hopes that controversial Plan B measures will be dropped at the end of the month.
Hospitals appear to be coping better with Omicron patients than first feared amid evidence the variant is much milder.
Omicron is also 90 per cent less severe for Brits who have got their boosters.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The encouraging data has triggered demands for Boris Johnson to throw off remaining Covid curbs like mandatory masks and working from home.
Levelling Up Secretary Mr Gove this morning admitted the country should start learning to live with the virus once the NHS is in the clear.
He told the BBC: "Our first responsibility at the moment must be to support the NHS.
"But… if we get through – and at the moment, I hope and pray that we will get through this difficult period – then there will be better times ahead.
"And I think one of the things that we need to do is how we live with this particular type of coronavirus.
"So guided by the science, we can look to the progressive lifting of restrictions. But I think for all of us, the sooner the better."
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Plan B restrictions, which also includes vaccine passports, are set to be reviewed ahead of their January 26 expiry date.
Tory MPs – 100 of whom rebelled against the measures last month – are agitating for a Freedom Day 2.0 where all restrictions are torn up forever.
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After Mr Gove's remarks this morning, one backbencher told The Sun: "It feels like we’re close to having won the war."
They added: "The PM deserves a lot of credit for not giving into pressure for more restrictions over the past month, but ultimately it's this big watershed moment that will give long lasting certainty and confidence to businesses and communities."
Ministers are also under pressure to reduce the Covid isolation time from seven to five days to help industries struggling with staffing crises.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi yesterday became the first Cabinet Minister to publicly break ranks and back the move.
Experts are increasingly hopeful Omicron is past the peak and will not swamp hospitals to breaking point.
NHS Providers chief Chris Hopson said he now reckons the "front line will hold".
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