England is on track to shed Covid restrictions implemented last month including the country’s work from home advice, Tory party chair Oliver Dowden has said.
Dowen said “it all seems to be heading in the right direction” as Omicron cases in the UK begin to sharply drop and hospitalisations plateau.
Patients in intensive care have also only increased very slightly throughout the Omicron wave due to the UK’s high rates of vaccination and because the variant is less deadly than previous iterations.
England’s Plan B Covid restrictions – advice to work from home if possible, along with mandatory face masks indoors and vaccine certificates for large events – are set to expire on 26 January without new parliamentary approval.
Dowden told Sky News that it now looks likely that Boris Johnson will not ask MPs to extend the restrictions further.
“It all seems to be heading in the right direction, crucially in the plateauing of hospitalisations,” he said.
“We’ve seen those headline numbers – it’s heading in the right direction now. I’m hopeful and optimistic, but clearly we’ll wait for the data at the point of the decision before making that final decision.
“It’s always been my hope we would have the Plan B restrictions for the shortest period possible, I’m under no doubt about the burden this puts hospitality, schools and so on under. The signs are encouraging, but clearly we’ll wait to see the data ahead of that final decision.”