LONDON – Scientists warned the British government on Monday not to weaken the country’s ability to track and track the coronavirus after Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted a requirement for people in England to isolate themselves when they become infected with COVID-19.
On Monday, Johnson will announce in parliament details of the government’s plan to “live with COVID”, putting it like other communicable diseases such as the flu. It is expected that the legal requirement of self-isolation for at least five days after a positive coronavirus test will be replaced by instructions, and mass virus testing will be reduced.
The new plan envisions vaccines and treatments that keep the virus under control when it becomes endemic in the country.
Johnson urged people not to “throw caution to the wind,” but said it was time to move away from “banning certain actions, coercing certain actions, in favor of encouraging personal responsibility.”
Some scholars have said it is a risky move that could lead to an outbreak of infections and weaken the country’s defenses against more harmful strains in the future.
Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, which developed the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, said “deciding when and how to reduce restrictions is extremely difficult”.
He said it was “important to maintain“ virus surveillance, an early warning system if you will, that tells us about new options that are emerging and provides an opportunity to monitor whether these new options really cause more serious diseases than omicron ”.
Johnson’s Conservative government in January, most restrictions on viruses were lifted, the withdrawal of vaccine passports for venues and the termination of mask mandates in most places other than England hospitals. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are setting their own health rules, have also opened up, albeit more slowly.
Monday’s announcement only applies to England, home to 56 million of Britain’s 67 million people.
The combination of high levels of vaccination in the UK and a milder version of omicron meant that easing restrictions did not lead to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. Both are falling, although the UK still has the highest number of coronaviruses in Europe after Russia, where more than 160,000 deaths have been recorded.
In Britain, 85% of people over the age of 12 received two doses of the vaccine and almost two-thirds received the third vaccination.
The announcement will appeal to many Conservative lawmakers who argue that the restrictions were ineffective and disproportionate. It could also strengthen Johnson’s position among party lawmakers who have considered trying to oust power through scandals, including government parties violating the blocking regime during a pandemic.
Health psychologist Robert West, a member of the government’s advisory committee, said the government seemed ready to “abdicate its own responsibility for caring for its population.”
“It looks like the government has said it recognizes that the country will have to live with somewhere between 20,000 and 80,000 deaths from COVID a year and there is really nothing to do with it,” he said, speaking in his personal capacity. “Now it seems to me that this is irresponsible.”
The reminder that the coronavirus remains widespread came with the news that Queen Elizabeth II received a positive result at COVID-19 on Sunday. Buckingham Palace has reported that the 95-year-old monarch is experiencing mild cold symptoms and continues to perform light duties.
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