Government announcement on ending covid restrictions
January 21, 2022
“Given the amazing success of the booster programme in protecting York households, and the latest encouraging virus data, I am glad the government has decided to let current ‘Plan B’ measures expire at the end of this month.
Although I have serious concerns about the Prime Minister’s judgement on other matters, I think he has called this one right, listening to myself and other Conservative MPs who voted against aspects of Plan B rules on the basis we could trust to the conscientious behaviour of the public without needing heavy-handed state diktats.
The virus remains a serious health threat, especially for the unvaccinated or medically vulnerable, but current stats and projections suggest we do not need to retain extraordinary curbs on behaviour beyond January. Scientists believe omicron has peaked, deaths from omicron are mercifully far below recent predictions, and although we must do all we can to support the NHS, hospital admissions have stabilised and even fallen in some areas, and numbers in intensive care are low and falling.
Having voted against ‘vaccine passports’ for large events and nightclubs, I welcome the fact this will cease to be a legal requirement from Thursday 27th January, alongside the end of compulsory indoor mask wearing. I am also very pleased to see the end of ‘work from home’ guidance, an important signal we are getting back to normality.
Keeping all these measures in place for longer than strictly necessary risks damaging economic activity and everyday social interaction across our city, and we need an atmosphere of confidence if York is to make up the hit we took from covid.
Allowing self-isolation requirements to expire as planned on 24th March unless new evidence suggests earlier action strikes me as reasonable, especially given the isolation period has now been cut further to 5 days, reducing the disruption caused.
However, having voted against the divisive proposal for mandatory vaccination of frontline NHS staff, I am quite disappointed the government has not committed to review this decision if the scientific evidence changes, and hope they alter their approach as the situation improves.
Overall, I am greatly reassured by this big step back towards normal life and freedom. We can be fastest in leaving restrictions because we have implemented the fastest booster programme in Europe. This decision is safe and sensible, as it is only happening because we have the protection of the booster and vaccine shield.”