The Prime Minister has announced the end of most restrictions after claiming the “Omicron wave has now peaked nationally”.
Changes are set to end compulsory face coverings in classrooms and public places, while the NHS Covid pass scheme will become voluntary for those organisations and venues which want to continue it.
But as Downing Street faces continued anger over claims of lockdown-busting parties and the growing prospect of a leadership contest, Johnson has been accused of acting now to save his own skin.
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“Nobody wants restrictions to go on longer than they have to,” said Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson.
“But as case rates remain sky high that means more people have to self-isolate, are unable to go to work and children miss out on school.
“I worry that while the Prime Minister has said we need to live with Covid there are no plans in place for how to go about doing that, rendering it an empty slogan.
“Labour has called for the Prime Minister to share the scientific evidence behind this decision and reassure the public that he is acting to protect our health, not just his leadership.”
Addressing parliament after another bruising session at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson conceded “significant pressures” remain on the NHS in the North East.
However, in light of data suggesting the severity of the disease had decreased from the earliest days of the pandemic, especially following the vaccine roll out, he insisted it was now time to “replace legal requirements with advice and guidance”.
While many restrictions have been scrapped, others, such as the need to self-isolate following a positive test for Covid-19, remain in force under Plan A, as do testing rules surrounding international travel.
However, quarantine rules are due to expire on Thursday, March 24, with no plan currently in place to renew them.
The Prime Minister told Parliament: "There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether - just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.”