England has today returned to its Plan A Covid measures, where the rules on mandatory facial clothing have now been repealed.
Plan B measures were originally introduced on 8 December 2021 to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant. These meant that people were required by law to wear facewear indoors in public places, other than hospitality, recommended working from home where possible, and required Covid passports to access major events and nightclubs. These measures have been removed.
Despite the decision to lift the restrictions, however, Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned: “When we learn to live with Covid, we must be aware that this virus will not go away, so if you have not already done so, please come forward to first, second or booster jab. “
Under Plan A, local public health directors can still only recommend face cover in common areas in educational settings within their area. This is a temporary measure, the government said.
Guidance on infection prevention continues to require that face clothing be worn in health and care settings, including primary care and pharmacies.
And it is still a legal requirement for those with Covid to self-isolate for 10 days with the option to complete self-isolation after five full days after two negative lateral flow tests.
The move to Plan A comes in the wake of warnings from scientists that case rates in England now appear to be on a plateau.
Although rates are falling among adults, the prevalence of the virus in children is growing, according to the British React study, run by Imperial College London.
Two-thirds of recent cases were also among those who said they had previously caught Covid, though scientists warned that it was difficult to determine if these were genuine reinfections or a result of people still testing positive from long-term infections.
The study, which estimated 100,607 vaccinations between January 5 and 20, suggests that infections peaked around the beginning of the month, with 1 in 23 people having the virus before falling and then flattening out.
A total of 102,292 new infections were reported on Wednesday, while a further 346 deaths were recorded.
About 64.4 percent of those aged 12 and over have received three doses. Nearly 91 percent of the population has been vaccinated with at least one sting.