England will end its mandatory face masking and COVID-19 vaccine passport requirements on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced to applause from Parliament.
Speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday, Johnson said scientists believe the wave of coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant had peaked nationally and as such the country would revert to its “Plan A” response to the virus, according to the BBC.
The end of “Plan B” lifts many coronavirus restrictions Johnson imposed on England. The prime minister said that beginning Thursday, COVID passports for entering nightclubs and large events would no longer be required, though private venues can continue to use them if they wish. People will no longer be advised to work from home, and employers may coordinate a return to offices.
Face masks will no longer be mandated in England, though the government is encouraging people to wear coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces or when meeting strangers, Johnson said. And starting Thursday, schoolchildren will no longer have to wear face masks in classrooms.
The prime minister cited data from a coronavirus infection study by the Office for National Statistics in his announcement that shows infections are falling in England and hospitalizations have stabilized.
“We will trust the judgement of the English people,” Johnson said. “We are the first to emerge from the Omicron wave.
There were loud cheers in Parliament after Johnson finished making these announcements.
The UK ends mandatory masking and vaxx passports.
Parliament cheers in response.pic.twitter.com/7feWkoUyXA
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) January 19, 2022
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