Britain reported the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in almost a year yesterday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government considers relaxing measures introduced to reduce the spread of Omicron variant.
Britain reported 438 new deaths from Covid-19, the highest daily total since Feb 24 last year. Health minister Sajid Javid earlier told parliament he was optimistic that Covid-19 measures introduced to reduce the spread of Omicron will be scaled back next week as cases and hospitalisations look to have peaked.
The government is considering phasing out England’s remaining pandemic restrictions, including working from home guidance and the use of vaccine passports, British media have reported. Despite infections reaching record highs in recent weeks, the rapid roll-out of booster shots and the lesser severity of Omicron has meant hospitalisations and deaths have not risen as sharply compared with earlier waves of the pandemic.
Britain has reported 152,513 deaths from Covid-19 in total, the seventh highest death total in the world, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in the first year of the pandemic. Scotland yesterday announced it was easing coronavirus restrictions as case numbers, which hit record numbers over Christmas during the Omicron wave, continued to fall. The move came as Wales also began lifting Covid restrictions and England said it would likely do the same next week.
Nightclubs will reopen and the requirement for table service in premises serving alcohol will no longer apply, said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Guidance asking people to stick to a three household limit on indoor gatherings will also be lifted, she added. Limits on attendances at outdoor of public events were lifted on Monday. But infection levels remained high, warned Sturgeon. “So to minimise the risk of getting the virus, it would be sensible for all of us to remain cautious in our social interactions at this stage,” she added.
There will be no extension of the coronavirus vaccine passport scheme but people will still be asked to work from home whenever possible. UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that Covid restrictions in England could be “substantially reduced” from next week. “We have already reached the peak of the case numbers of hospitalisations,” Javid told MPs. The Welsh government has said a decline in Covid cases in intensive care means it will scale down its alert level from two to zero in coming weeks. The number of people who can attend an outdoor event in Wales rose from 50 to 500 at the weekend.
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