UK reports 96,871 new covid cases on day Plan B restrictions ease across country

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Some of the most significant Plan B restrictions ended today in England, with similar measures coming into force in the other home nations

A person wearing a face mask crosses Waterloo Bridge, in London, as Plan B measures are lifted in England
A person wearing a face mask crosses Waterloo Bridge, in London, as Plan B measures are lifted in England

The UK has reported 96,871 new cases over the past 24 hours along with 338 confirmed deaths.

This is down on 102,292 cases confirmed on Wednesday but continues some of the highest death rates the country has seen since February.

Despite having gotten over the worst of the Omicron wave, infection rates seem stuck above the 90,000 mark.

Britain saw an Omicron new years peak of nearly 220,000 cases a day, but infection levels sharply declined in the immediate weeks after.

This is a pattern that has been seen globally, first in South Africa and then other nations where the variant got a foothold.

However, in recent days the case rates seem to have plateaued slightly over 90,000 new cases each day since mid-Jan.

The rules on wearing masks on public transport have changed
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

This trend is not following precursor countries like South Africa who’s Omicron wave played out ahead of the UK’s and it is not clear yet what is causing it.

This comes as the UK has ditched most of the remaining significant CovidPlan B restrictions today.

Masks are no longer required in public spaces, including on public transport and shops.

However, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose have said they will continue to ask their customers in England to wear masks.

People out and about shopping in Liverpool city centre, some wearing face masks and some without, after Boris Johnson’s easing of England’s Covid restrictions
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Some train passengers will also be asked to wear one.

Covid passes, which were introduced for large public events both indoors and outdoors like football matches, have been thrown out as well.

However, even as the remaining restrictions are thrown out, those who are vulnerable and shielding feel like they have been abandoned by the government .

Commuters at Liverpool Street Station
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Image:

PA)

According to ONS from late last year, around 800,000 of the 3.7 million people categorized as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are continuing to shield despite a lack of help from the government.

As hundreds of thousands are left to their own devices to look out for themselves, Covid jabs for vulnerable five to 11-year-olds is expected to be rolled out in the next few days .

This comes as the next step in the UK’s vaccine program that has helped bring the Omicron variant under control despite early fears it could overwhelm the country and force another lockdown.

A man wearing a mask whilst traveling on a bus in Burgess Hill, East Sussex
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Image:

Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

If anything, in recent days infection rates have been on the rise and yesterday reached over 100,000 reported infections in one day once more.

The number of people receiving boosters peaked before Christmas at nearly one million a day, and has since been falling ever since and currently stands at around 70,000 booster jabs a day.

People wait for the bus on Colston Avenue, Bristol, as rules on mask wearing change today
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Image:

SWNS)

All of this unfolds as the backdrop as Boris Johnson continues to fight for his political life amid reports that the Sue Gray ‘partygate’ report could come any day now, or next week.

After a string of allegations that No.10 and Whitehall threw parties throughout various stages of lockdown, including on the eve of Prince Charles’ funeral, the Prime Minister has fought back from the precipice of political life.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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