Nothing in data to support new Covid restrictions, says government

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  • Stephen Barclay
    British politician
Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay  (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

The government is unlikely to impose further Covid restrictions this week as the data does not suggest it is the correct course of action, Cabinet ministers have said.

Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay said new curbs are unnecessary as a “significant behaviour change” by the British public in recent weeks has seen increased uptake of testing and booster shots.

It comes despite calls from NHS bosses for the government to introduce new restrictions due to the increased strain placed on hospitals as Omicron cases continue to surge.

Asked if further restrictions for England will be announced in the coming week, Mr Barclay said: “We don’t think the data supports that at this stage.

"Of course we keep the data under review but we’ve seen significant behaviour change as a result of plan B.

"The widespread use of testing is an illustration of the fact the British public are taking sensible steps to take themselves safe, to keep friends and family safe.

"That’s why there has been such a demand for testing in recent weeks.

"So that, combined with the booster programme, is the key way as a country we will avoid the need for further measures."

His comments were echoed by health minister Edward Argar who said new curbs “must be the absolute last resort”.

The Plan B measures in place in England include mandatory face masks in most indoor spaces, Covid passports for entry to nightclubs and advice to work from home if possible.

New Covid restrictions have been introduced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in recent weeks but politicians in England have not followed suit.

It comes as England and Wales recorded 137,585 new Covid cases and 73 deaths in the latest 24-hour period.

It compares with a record 162,572 cases reported in England on Saturday.

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