UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that starting February 24, all coronavirus restrictions will end and Covid-19 will be treated as other infectious diseases such as the flu.
Under the British government’s “Living with Covid” plan, vaccines against the deadly virus will remain as the main line of defense.
“Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental wellbeing and on the life chances of our children, and we do not need to pay that cost any longer,” Johnson told parliament.
Experts and members of the opposition however have expressed concerns about the plan, which they say is premature.
Johnson said that mandatory quarantine for people who test positive for Covid-19 would end on February 24 and that free testing would stop on April 1.
Additionally, he had previously announced that England would be dropping the Covid-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. The measure went into effect on February 11.
With regard to travel, Johnson confirmed that Covid certificates would continue to be in use for international travel despite no longer being used in England.
The PM stressed that monitoring of Covid developments would also remain in place, allowing for a speedy response to new variants.
“We protect ourselves without losing our liberties and maintaining our contingent capabilities so we can respond rapidly to any new variant,” he said.
It should be noted that the UK was the first country to authorize the use of the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, the first in Europe to vaccinate 50 percent of its population, and the first to deliver the fastest booster program in Europe with over 31 million boosters administered.