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Britain to lift 'Plan B' COVID-19 restrictions nationwide by next week

Masked pedestrians are seen walking in London, Britain, on December 9, 2021. "Plan B" COVID-19 restrictions will soon be lifted in Britain because Omicron-driven cases have peaked, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Masked pedestrians are seen walking in London, Britain, on December 9, 2021. "Plan B" COVID-19 restrictions will soon be lifted in Britain because Omicron-driven cases have peaked, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that most COVID-19 restrictions imposed to control the spread of the Omicron variant, including mask rules, will be lifted now that cases seem to have peaked across Britain.

Johnson made the remarks after a question and answer session in Parliament.

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The rules, known as Plan B restrictions, included mandatory masks, work from home guidance and COVID passports. Johnson said they will be allowed to expire by Jan. 27. The work from home guidance will be dropped immediately, he said.

"From now on the government is no longer asking people to work from home. People should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office," Johnson said, according to the Evening Standard.

Johnson said the restrictions are ending because omicron COVID-19 cases in Britain have peaked and are on the decline.

Speaking to the House of Commons Wednesday, Johnson said more than 90% of people over 60 in Britain have been vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.

World Health Organization expert Dr. David Nabarro said, according to the Nottingham Post, that it's "important that there is no premature promising that restrictions will end at a particular time".

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Nabarro said the COVID-19 virus is constantly evolving and it's very hard to predict where it will be by a certain date. Therefore, he said, making any promises to lift restrictions by a certain date is unwise.

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