(CMR) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all measures introduced to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will end as of next week. This includes compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates .
Johnson also announced an immediate end to the need for pupils to wear masks at secondary schools.
“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,” Johnson told the Commons.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear one,” Johnson added.
However, teaching and health unions, and NHS and public health representatives have expressed concerns over this decision.
Teaching unions expressed concern about the sudden change as headteachers in England were still seeing widespread disruption to education due to the virus.
The prime minister also said he wanted to scrap mandatory self-isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. The current regulations are due to expire on 24 March, but Johnson said he would not renew them, and would “seek a vote in this House to bring that date forwards”.