Boris Johnson Announces Plans To End All Covid Legal Restrictions A Month Early
The Prime Minister announced plans to end final restrictions early
Rules around self-isolation for positive cases could be dropped early, Boris Johnson has said.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons he was planning to drop the legal Covid restrictions a month early if the "encouraging trends" in the number of cases and hospitalisations continue to drop.
Speaking at Prime Minsiter's Questions, Johnson said he would detail his strategy for "living with Covid" once Parliament returns from recess in late February.
Under the current timeline, the final legal restrictions were due to end on 24 March, but Johnson indicated that less pressure on hospital services and fewer daily cases could allow the government to drop the restrictions ahead of time.
"Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions including the legal requirements to self-isolate if you test positive a full month early," he said.
The seven day average of new infections has fallen sharply in recent weeks, dropping from over 116,000 infections in the week of 9 January to 82,000 by the end of the month.
Under current rules, people are expected to self-isolate if they test positive for the virus.
Rules around face coverings in schools and public places were dropped last month, while the time people were expected to self-isolate was also cut.
Johnson also faced questions from Labour leader Keir Starmer over the government's response to a significant rise in fraud during the pandemic.
Starmer highlighted figures which showed there were 14,000 incidents of fraud each day, with many elderly victims targeted during the pandemic.
Anti-fraud minister Lord Agnew resigned from his role in late January, saying the government had a "lamentable track record" in countering financial crime.
"His cabinet turning a blind eye to scammers," Starmer said. "Is it any wonder his anti-fraud minister realised no one in government seemed to care and threw in the towel?"
He questioned the Prime Minister over comments by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng who claimed earlier this week that fraud was not a "day-to-day crime" that people experienced.
But Johnson said the government was committed to tackling all crime, including fraud.
He said: "We are tackling crime across the board, which is why we are investing more into tackling fraud, but we are also tackling the neighbourhood crime which is of such massive psychological damage to people in this country, tackling knife crime, tackling burglary, tackling crimes of violence with tougher sentences which [the Labour party] voted against, and putting more police out on the street."
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