End-demic? Boris Johnson set to axe all covid restrictions

After nearly two years, four tiers, three lockdowns, three jabs and millions of tests, is this finally the end?

Kayleigh Fraser
24th February 2022
Image credits: Flickr
After nearly two years, four tiers, three lockdowns, three jabs and millions of tests, is this finally the end?

Since March 2020, the UK has been under stringent coronavirus laws that have restricted lives in one way or another. But now, the end seems to be in sight as Boris Johnson is set to axe all rules relating to the pandemic.

The UK will now be moving into a 'living with covid' strategy, with the legal requirement to self isolate after receiving a positive test being scrapped. This has been an disputed contentious amongst MP's, with Labour leader Kier Starmer urging the PM against "declaring victory before the war is over".

Coronavirus restrictions were set to expire on the 24 March this year, but Boris Johnson has said that they can be lifted early if the data is encouraging.

Statistics from across the pandemic do show that many people have succumb to the virus. In the UK as of the 20 February, 160,507 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

Overall, 181,244 people have coronavirus on their death certificate. With this in mind, its inevitable that the public are nervous about living with a virus that has killed so many.

Boris Johnson has urged the public that whilst Covid remains dangerous for some, "now is the moment for everybody to get their confidence back", and the UK will be leading the fight against covid with a "vaccine led approach."

Currently, people who test positive can leave isolation after five days after two days of negative lateral low tests. This was down from the previous ten day isolation period that was in place from the beginning.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of the British Medical Association, said there was no reason to end restrictions early.

"You have at the moment more people dying, more people in the hospital, than you had before Plan B [restrictions] was introduced," he said, describing the ending of the rules as "a rather odd decision to make".

"It does appear as if the government is trying to pretend that Covid doesn't exist in the day-to-day lives of so many people."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is dealing with his own troubles. After allegations of parties during lockdown, Boris Johnson is under investigation by the Met Police for several parties from spring 2020 to summer 2021. Some are theorising that this ending of restrictions early is an attempt to gain back public trust.

Johnson's approval rating has been slowly decreasing since May 2020, where a YouGov poll showed that 66% of people thought he was doing a good job as Prime Minister. In February 2022, this has completely changed. 70% of people now believe that Johnson is not doing a good job as PM.

However, the future of restrictions remains unknown. On the 12th February a report by The Guardian stated that a new variant of covid could be as or more dangerous than the delta and omicron variants.

Epidemiologist Prof Mark Woolhouse, of Edinburgh University stated that “The Omicron variant did not come from the Delta variant. It came from a completely different part of the virus’s family tree. And since we don’t know where in the virus’s family tree a new variant is going to come from, we cannot know how pathogenic it might be. It could be less pathogenic but it could, just as easily, be more pathogenic."

Despite these warnings, the government still seems set on the ending of restrictions. Wether we're in an endemic now is questionable - but covid is definitely not over just yet.

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AUTHOR: Kayleigh Fraser
Campus Comment Sub Editor for 2021/22 and Head of News at NSR. English Literature Student heavily obsessed with politics, bath and body works and making positive change. Also slightly infatuated with iced coffee, guinea pigs, my dog and binging The Simpsons.

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