British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of Plan B measures to combat Covid-19 in England Wednesday morning. The Prime Minister’s announcement brings an end to mask mandates, vaccine passports, and orders to work from home.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is fighting to keep his position amid accusations of scandals during the pandemic, shocked the House of Commons by also announcing an immediate end to mask mandates in schools. His speech is largely seen as an effort to regain the support of conservative members of Parliament. However, Johnson’s speech marks a historic moment in the Covid-19 pandemic, as Britain attempts to bring an end to regulations and mandates that encroach upon the freedom of England’s citizens.
After giving a summary of the measures Britain took to combat the spread of the Omicron variant, Johnson announced, “So this morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures – we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire.”
Johnson announced that the government would no longer enforce vaccine certification or vaccine passports, saying, “From the start of Thursday next week mandatory certification will end.” This marks a return to freedom, departing from the continued use of government mandates to force citizens to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
Johnson also announced “From now, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office.” Under Plan B, the government had forced businesses to work remotely, however, the British government will no longer enforce that requirement.
One of Johnson’s most shocking announcements in his speech was the announcement that masks will no longer be required in schools. In his address, Johnson said, “Mr Speaker, from tomorrow, we will no longer require face masks in classrooms, and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas.”
Additionally, the prime minister announced that the government would remove mask requirements for other indoor locations, stating, “We will trust the judgement of the British people and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
As England begins to move past the Covid-19 pandemic and remove government mandates, Prime Minister Johnson expressed his desire to remove the legal requirement for people with Covid-19 to self-isolate once the data supports his proposal. He stated, “The self-isolation regulations expire on 24th March, at which point I very much expect not to renew them.”
Britain’s change in Covid-19 policy represents a major shift toward a return to freedom and personal choice. With the British government announcing that they will trust the judgement of their own citizens, Americans can have hope that freedom will prevail in the United States as well. Although England appears to have reached the peak of Omicron and is beginning to move past the pandemic sooner than the United States, Americans are hopeful that the same trend could start to appear in the U.S. The question now remains whether the United States will follow Britain’s example, or whether the Biden administration will continue to enforce strict mandates that restrict the freedom of millions of American citizens.