London Covid: Tory chief says ‘indicators are encouraging’ for coronavirus guidelines to finish this month


The government is looking at increasing likelihood of lifting Covid restrictions by the end of January as the number of daily positive cases continues to fall rapidly.

Conservative Party leader Oliver Dowden said the “signs are encouraging” for the lifting of Covid restrictions in England as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to review the rules.

‘Plan B’ was introduced in early December following a spike in cases caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant, first detected in the UK in November. This meant wearing masks became mandatory on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and people who could were encouraged to work from home.

READ MORE: London Covid: Government could scrap Plan B rules after huge 44 per cent drop in cases

But that could change on January 26th.

Mr Dowden told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “I always hoped we would have the Plan B restrictions for the shortest possible period.

“I have no doubt what kind of strains this is putting on the hospitality sector, the wider business, schools etc and I want us to get rid of those if that’s possible.

“The signs are encouraging but we will of course wait to see the data before making this final decision.”

Mr Dowden also said there had been “some very encouraging data” on infections and hospitalizations from the Omicron variant.

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He said, “This gives us hope and optimism that we may come out of the worst of Omicron.”

It comes after a government health adviser said coronavirus cases appear to be a “plateau” in parts of the UK.

dr Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said on Saturday that the number of infections was flattening out in London, the south-east and east of England.

Boris Johnson could reportedly make an easing restrictions announcement within days as part of a flash of new guidelines as he tries to survive the release of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into alleged lockdown busting parties at Downing Street.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he hoped the rules could be lifted “as soon as possible” but warned the Prime Minister against taking the step just to distract from the so-called partygate.

Sir Keir said on the BBC program on Sunday morning: “I think the sooner we can lift the final restrictions the better. I think that’s what the whole country wants.

“So if lifting these restrictions is right, we will vote to lift these restrictions. But we will, as always, be guided by science, not politics, to prop up a broken PM.”

Meanwhile, former Vaccines Taskforce chair Dr. Clive Dix, an end to mass vaccination against Covid.

Speaking to Tom Swabrick on LBC on Sunday, he said: “The Omicron variant is a relatively mild virus. And just continuing to vaccinate people and thinking about doing it again to protect the population is now a waste of time in my view.”

He instead advocated a “highly focused approach” to vaccinating vulnerable individuals.

dr Dix said even when the booster campaign was announced he was “critical” of promoting everyone as he wasn’t convinced “it was or is needed for younger people”.

He added: “I think the thinking of the time was very much geared towards stopping infections and transmission where these vaccines clearly are not doing.

“We’ve seen this because we’ve seen these huge, huge levels of infection, but what they (boosters) are doing, and it’s absolutely clear, they’re preventing people from getting seriously ill and dying. 85% of people who get serious and die are vulnerable and elderly, so we should focus on them.”

He said the government should be “very focused” on how to educate itself for the “future vaccination program” next winter and argued there should be a study to understand the status of the public’s immunity.

“So by next winter we can really have a sound vaccination policy, where the right vaccines are used at the right time for the right people.”

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