End of Covid in sight! Date when ‘ALL restrictions’ could be lifted under Boris’ bold plan

Boris exit could leave Labour with an ‘easy target’ says Curtice

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It comes after ministers already signalled that the Covid “Plan B” restrictions will be lifted on January 26. Tory chairman Oliver Dowden said, “it all seems to be heading in the right direction” for the rules to be scrapped on compulsory masks, working from home and Covid passes. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson could go even further to win back public support after the Downing Street parties scandal and calls for him to quit.

Number 10 is said to be drawing up plans to phase out England’s remaining pandemic restrictions from as early as March.

A senior source told the Guardian that the Government was looking at ending mandatory self-isolation for positive Covid cases, saying it would be “perverse” to keep the measure in the long term.

It could be replaced by guidance instead.

It is one of several pieces of legislation due to expire at the end of March, meaning “all restrictions” could be toppled by April 1, according to reports.

Other provisions that will run out or require renewal include giving your address to NHS test and trace and listing members of your household.

Despite the January 26 lift on ‘Plan B’ restrictions, ministers are expected to continue in the short term with rules mandating mask-wearing in shops and on public transport.

A source added: “There are a few legal powers still on the statute book, not least the requirement to self-isolate. At some point we will have to address them.”

Mr Johnson will reportedly convene a series of meetings this week to look at the trajectory of Covid data.

A senior Whitehall source said there was a possibility that new testing requirements could “distort” the data.

This is because those without symptoms are no longer required to take a PCR test after a positive rapid test, and many do not self-report their results to the NHS.

But the source said that the pattern would still be evident.

They added: “Even if it does change some of the numbers, we are able to monitor the path of cases accurately.”

At the weekend, Mr Johnson’s fightback strategy, dubbed Operation Red Meat, emerged in a bid to win back support.

The timing of the announcement on the Plan B lifting is poised to be released around the same time as a report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray into alleged lockdown breaches in Downing Street.

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On Monday, Downing Street said it would give businesses enough time before next Wednesday to prepare for the lifting of restrictions or any other changes.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “In terms of the data, there are some encouraging signs that infections are falling across the country. Obviously we want to see that mirrored in the latest ONS data as well.

“There are also some signs of falls – or at least plateauing – in admissions and occupancy in hospital, which is good to see, but it still remains the case that our NHS is under significant pressure – there are over 16,000 Covid patients in hospitals in England alone.”

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