Covid: Boris Johnson expected to ease England's Plan B measures

The decision on Plan B is 'finely balanced' but current data is 'encouraging', the government says.

1/19/2022 10:00:00 AM

The decision on Plan B is 'finely balanced' but current data is 'encouraging', the government says.

The decision on Plan B is 'finely balanced' but current data is 'encouraging', the government says.

And asked whether restrictions would be lifted during a hospital visit, Mr Johnson said: "We've got to be careful about Covid. We've got to continue to remember that it's a threat."Advice to work from home if possibleA government spokeswoman said while the Omicron variant still posed a "significant threat", the latest data was "encouraging" as case numbers, while high, were "beginning to fall".

Covid hospital admissions also appear to be starting to decrease, with the weekly figure down 2.9% in the seven days up to 14 January - the latest figures available.With every passing day, the Covid data is looking better.But now it looks like all have turned the corner.

Read more: BBC London »

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Johnson expected to set out plan to lift Plan B coronavirus restrictionsBoris Johnson will chair a meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday and then update MPs on Plan B measures. Words can neither qualify how helpful your guidance and advice has been to me. I am and will be forever grateful for all your advice and guidance during my enrollment on your platform SamAndCoTradin

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Is the pandemic entering its endgame? The restrictions were introduced in December to slow the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and to buy time to administer more booster jabs. On Tuesday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs he was "cautiously optimistic that we will be able to substantially reduce restrictions next week". And asked whether restrictions would be lifted during a hospital visit, Mr Johnson said: "We've got to be careful about Covid. We've got to continue to remember that it's a threat." What are England's Plan B measures? Compulsory face coverings for most indoor public spaces, including theatres, cinemas, public transport and shops Advice to work from home if possible Mandatory Covid passes - showing proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test - to gain entry to nightclubs and other large events, such as big football matches Face coverings to be worn by secondary pupils in classrooms A government spokeswoman said while the Omicron variant still posed a "significant threat", the latest data was "encouraging" as case numbers, while high, were "beginning to fall". She added that Covid vaccines remained the "best line of defence" - with more than 36m boosters given across the UK so far - and urged people who have not yet been jabbed to come forward. Daily Covid cases are falling in the UK with the total recorded over the past seven days down 38.9% on the previous week. Covid hospital admissions also appear to be starting to decrease, with the weekly figure down 2.9% in the seven days up to 14 January - the latest figures available. However, there is a lag between people catching the virus and becoming seriously ill so deaths are continuing to rise - and are up 14.7% on last week. On Tuesday, the UK recorded 94,432 new cases and 438 deaths within 28 days of a positive test - the highest figure since 24 February - although the daily death figure tends to be higher after weekends because of reporting delays. With every passing day, the Covid data is looking better. Detected cases are now falling steeply - although the changes to testing rules and the fact only Wales has been counting re-infections to date has made some wary of putting too much emphasis on these figures. It is why it's also important to look at hospital admissions. Last week there were definite signs of a plateau nationally, although that masked differences between regions with some seeing rises and others falls. But now it looks like all have turned the corner. It means pressures on the NHS may have peaked at just over 2,000 admissions a day - very much in best-case scenario territory. A key factor in that - alongside the boosters - was the limited mixing people did over the festive period. By the end of December average daily contacts were down to under three - not far off the levels seem on the first lockdown. With more mixing being done, there's no guarantee infections levels and hospital pressures will keep falling. But the worst of the Omicron wave certainly looks like it has been weathered. The devolved nations have the power to set their own restrictions, with tougher measures in place for other parts of the UK . On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that most remaining restrictions in Scotland, including the closure of nightclubs and limits on indoor events,