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Health secretary Sajid Javid has said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Covid-19 regulations can be “substantially reduced” next week.
The government is set to review its “plan B” measures on 26 January, which apply to England, and include mandatory mask wearing in certain places as well as working from home where possible.
Speaking today, Mr Javid told the Commons: “Eight weeks ago, when this house last met for health and social care questions, the world had not even heard of the Omicron variant, yet since then we have seen a third of the UK’s total number of Covid-19 cases recorded.
“The action that this government has taken in response to Omicron and the collective efforts of the British people have seen us become the most boosted country in Europe, the most tested country in Europe, and the most antivirals per head in Europe.
“That is why we are the most open country in Europe. I have always said that these restrictions should not stay in place a day longer than absolutely necessary.
“Due to these pharmaceutical defences and the likelihood that we have already reached the peak of the case numbers of hospitalisations, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to substantially reduce restrictions next week.”
Even if it does ditch the regulations, the government is expected to keep in place rules on self-isolation, as well as controls on international travel.
The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland set their Covid-19 regulations independently.