LONDON (AFP) – England yesterday lifted coronavirus restrictions imposed to tackle the Omicron variant, with masks no longer required in enclosed places and vaccine passports shelved.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases has fallen sharply over the past two weeks, and although still at high levels, have plateaued in recent days.
The United Kingdom (UK) government introduced the so-called ‘Plan B’ restrictions on December 8, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of a looming “tidal wave” of Omicron.
Face masks were required in all enclosed spaces and, controversially, vaccine documentation also was to enter places such as football grounds and large-scale events.
On the streets of London around St Paul’s Cathedral, there was general support for the lifting of restrictions, which comes after more than 37 million people had booster jabs.
“I think it’s a really good thing,” said Elizabeth Hynes, 71, who is originally from Ireland but has lived in England for 47 years. “I was coming up the lifts here at St Paul’s and I was looking at all the shows” being advertised, she said of the posters inside the underground station.
“And I thought ‘how wonderful, it’s like old times’.
“It’s like we’re getting back to how London was, and you realise how much you’ve missed live theatre and fantastic shows.”