British Prime Minister rolls back Omicron restrictions

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of the COVID-19 restrictions put in place to combat the Omicron variant. 

According to The Guardian, Johnson has rolled back some of the stricter measures such as compulsory mask-wearing on all public transportation and work-from-home recommendations as well as vaccine certificates. The changes will take effect next week.

“The prime minister also told the Commons that the legal requirement on people with coronavirus to self-isolate would be allowed to lapse when the regulations expired on 24 March, and that date could be brought forward,” The Guardian reported. 

Conservatives cheered the decision by Johnson who announced the immediate end of students in middle schools wearing masks while in class. 

“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.

“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”

Responding for Labour, Keir Starmer said believed in the change as long as the evidence supported the decision, saying Johnson must “reassure the public he is acting to protect their health, not just his job”.

There were varying degrees of appreciation for Johnson’s decision, but the teacher’s unions seem most concerned, saying they’re seeing widespread disruptions in education due to COVID. 

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”