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Sajid Javid covid announcement – Watch LIVE as Health Sec officially scraps work from home, masks & vaccine passports

Jan 19, 2022

BORIS Johnson this afternoon announced he's scrapping almost all Covid restrictions in a huge boost to millions of Brits.

The PM said he's binning all of the Plan B measures which were introduced last month to help fight off the Omicron wave.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is currently addressing the nation at a press conference to formally announce the news that guidance to work from home where possible has been immediately withdrawn.

That means people can head back to the office from tomorrow morning.

Watch the press conference live by clicking the video above.

Vaccine passports, used by people to prove their vaccination status or a negative test to enter large venues, will also go from midnight next Wednesday.

And in a surprise move the PM also declared wearing masks in public spaces like trains, buses, and shops will fallaway at the same time.

Read our covid live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    Sajid asks people to act responsibly

    The public can do this by maintaining hygiene and getting tested.

    The jabs got us here – and can keep us here too, he says.

    He again urges people to come forward to have all three jabs.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Plan to live with Covid coming in the Spring

    The health secretary says we must proceed with caution.

    He urges everyone to do what they can to keep the virus at bay.

    He says a plan to "live with Covid is coming in the Spring".

  • Joseph Gamp

    A major milestone – but not the end of the road

    Sajid says we are far from beating Covid altogether.

    We cannot eradicate this virus and future variants, he says.

    We must learn to live with it in the same was as the flu.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Mandatory Covid pass and face masks ending next Thursday

    They government will no longer mandate the use of face mask.

    But he suggests they are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces.

    Face coverings are no longer required in Schools, from tomorrow.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Omicron is in retreat

    Sajid says the data shows the virus is in "retreat" and patients in intensive care beds is now the same as last July.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Sajid: Our approach bought us valuable time

    The health sec said: "Ive always been conscious of the blanket problems of restrictions."

    He added the UK took a balanced and proportional approach.

    And he says our approach bought us valuable time to be able to assess our defences.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Sajid Javid says UK scientists among first to identify Omicron

    We can learn to live with Covid, the health secretary said.

    But he said our scientists were among first in world to identify Omircon.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Sajid Javid: Today marks the start in the next chapter

    The health sec says our collective progress is leading to Plan B restrictions being dropped.

    We will return to Plan A, and it's something we can "all be proud of".

    It's a reminder of what can be achieved when we work together, he says.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Press conference coming at 5

    Sajid Javid will lead a press conference this evening from Downing Street.

    The presser, due to start at 5pm, will see the health secretary announce England's return to restriction-free life next week.

  • Louis Allwood

    Where do I have to wear a mask?

    Until January 26, everyone in shops, museums and public transport in England has to wear a face covering – unless they are medically exempt.

    Boris Johnson announced the Plan B measures in December 2021 after passing a parliament vote.

    Under Plan B all but essential workers were asked to work remotely like they did between March 2020 and last July's Freedom Day.

    People are advised to take lateral flow tests (LFTs) before entering any "high-risk setting", including busy areas and some workplaces.

    Vaccine passports were also launched for large venues like football matches and nightclubs.

    At the moment the definition of fully-vaccinated is two jabs rather than three, and a negative lateral flow test will also count.

    Mandatory face masks – the third prong of the Government's Plan B – were already in force for shops and public transport since November 30, 2021, to stem the rising tide of Omicron.

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris said he was 'proud' of his staff

    Boris also said he was "proud" of the work his staff in No 10 have done on fighting the pandemic.

    He said: "Throughout the pandemic people across Government have been working flat out to protect the British public."

    And in a barb at Sir Keir he suggested the Labour leader "tell the House" about pictures of him drinking a bottle of beer with staff last May.

    During the powder keg session the Commons Speaker had to repeatedly intervene and threaten to throw out raucous MPs.

  • Louis Allwood

    Holiday boost

    Brits returning home from holiday currently have to take lateral flow tests to stop the spread of Covid.

    But these are widely set to be scrapped for those who have had their vaccines – as the nation moves into a post-Covid world.

    Mrs May asked today why there was no mention of travel tests in his Plan B announcement today.

    And the PM replied there would be a statement "in the next few days" on the issue, stressing: "I think it's very important everybody in the country understands that getting your booster, wherever you want to go in the world, getting your booster is going to be a pretty crucial thing to do."

    It's likely that any measures will apply to anyone who has been tripled jabbed.

    Ministers have said they will update the isolation rules for "fully vaccinated" to mean anyone who has had three vaccines in the future – but hasn't said when this will kick in.

    The government has already scrapped the pre-departure tests day two tests can now be lateral flow tests instead of expensive PCR tests.

    Lateral flow tests cost around £60 less than PCR tests – saving £240 per family.

    This means families can save hundreds of pounds on their holidays, with the £22 pre-departure scrapped saving £88 for a family of four.

  • Louis Allwood

    ‘Epicentre’ shifts as cases fall

    All 377 local authority areas have seen a fall in infections in the last week and the interactive map shows how your local area fares.

    It was yesterday reported that Covid infections were down 22 per cent on last week and the Prime Minister is today poised to announce the end of some Plan B restrictions.

    A cluster of infections has been detected in the North East of England, which also currently has the highest R rate in the country, sitting between 1.4 and 1.7 with the English average between 1.1-1.5.

    Areas in Northern Ireland had previously made up the most infected areas, but that has now shifted to the North East.

    The top three most infected areas in the country are all in the North East and the region also makes up the majority of the top ten infected places in the country.

    South Tyneside has the highest rate in the UK, with 2,526 new cases in the seven days to January 14 – the equivalent of 1,671.4 per 100,000 people.

    This is down from a rate of 2,738.6 for the seven days to January 7.

  • Louis Allwood

    Brits can go back to work tomorrow

    The guidance to work from home has been dropped effective immediately – meaning Brits can go back to the office tomorrow.

    The remaining rules will expire on January 26 meaning the changes will kick in on Thursday morning.

    Mr Johnson said: "The Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire."

  • Louis Allwood

    Sajid Javid to hold major Downing Street press conference tonight

    The Health Secretary will address the nation at 5pm ahead of England's return to restriction-free life next week.

    Boris today announced Plan B WILL be completely shredded next Wednesday as he hailed "light at the end of the tunnel".

    Hated vaccine passports will be dumped along with the guidance to work from home and requirement to wear face masks indoors.

    The PM said: "The Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire."

    The current rules will expire on January 26 meaning the changes will kick in on Thursday morning.

  • Louis Allwood

    Covid cases dropping

    Yesterday, the UK's daily Covid cases dropped 21 per cent on last week.

    There were 94,432 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 438 fatalities also recorded.

    Deaths have risen compared to the past few days, but are still not near the levels seen in the Alpha peak last year of over 1,000.

    This fits with the pattern of a Covid wave, however – a few weeks on from high cases, some extra deaths will now sadly catch up for those harder hit with the virus.

  • Louis Allwood

    Masks in classrooms dropped TOMORROW

    In a major win for pupils the requirement to wear face coverings during lessons will be dropped ahead of the wider scaling back of Plan B next Wednesday.

    The Sun revealed last week that Nadhim Zahawi wanted to axe masks in classrooms ahead of the Plan B review.

    Boris Johnson will rip up Plan B restrictions in a major statement this afternoon.

    The PM is expected to announce working from home guidance and vaccine passports will be scrapped next Wednesday.

    Cabinet Ministers met this morning to flesh out the final changes ahead of the PM's update to MPs.

    Covid cases are falling as experts grow increasingly confident the country is over the hump of Omicron.

  • Louis Allwood

    When will the Sue Gray report be published?

    Ms Gray's findings are expected to be published in the coming week – as opposed to months.

    But there is no timescale for the inquiry.

    Internal inquiries into allegations of staff bullying by Home Secretary Priti Patel took six months, while those around MP Damian Green and pornographic images on his work computer lasted about two months.

    The Gray inquiry does not have the remit of a parliamentary or independent inquiry – such as the one into the Grenfell Tower fire or the forthcoming probe into the government's handling of the pandemic.

  • Louis Allwood

    Young Labour Official Twitter account have not welcomed Christian Wakeford

    Moments after it was revealed that Christian Wakeford had defected to the Labour Party, Young Labour did not appear to be pleased with the move.

    The Official account tweeted "Christian Wakeford MP should not be admitted to the Labour Party.

    "He has consistently voted against the interests of working-class people; for the £20 universal credit cut, for the Nationality and Borders Bill and for the Police and Crime Bill.

    "Young Labour does not welcome him."

  • Louis Allwood

    Covid isolation could be SCRAPPED altogether by March

    Boris Johnson told the House of Commons during PMQs from March 24 the legal requirement to isolate for positive people could be shelved.

    The PM even indicated this could happen sooner, if the data continues to look good.

    He said: "As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures still remain, including those on self-isolation.

    "In particular, it is still a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for Covid to self-isolate.

    "On Monday we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don't place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

    "As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.

    "The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24, at which point I very much expect not to renew them.

    "Indeed, were the data to allow, I'd like to seek a vote in this House to bring that date forward."

  • Louis Allwood

    Labour supports restrictions ease

    Keir Starmer has said "We will support the relaxation of Plan B as long as the science says that it is safe.

    "Can the PM share the scientific evidence behind his decision and reassure the public he is acting to protect the health not just his job."

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris Johnson insists he WON’T resign

    Boris faced jeers as he entered the chamber today and immediately had to fend off questions calling on him to resign.

    Asked first up if he was going to quit, the PM said: "No, but I apologise sincerely for any misjudgements that were made."

    A contrite Boris later added: "I entirely understand people’s feelings and I entirely support obeying the rules when you make the rules."

    Minutes before he got to his feet in the Commons the PM was rocked by the news of a Tory MP defecting to Labour amid a growing plot to oust him.

  • Louis Allwood

    Plan B scrapped

    The PM said: "The Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England, and allow Plan B regulations to expire."

    As The Sun revealed earlier today, masks in classrooms will be dropped tomorrow and scrapped entirely in schools on January 26.

    Triumphant Mr Johnson hailed the success of the booster campaign that has allowed him to rip up all remaining curbs.

  • Louis Allwood

    Rules to remain

    Self isolation rules will still remain in place.

    It is still a legal requirement for those that have tested positive for Covid to self isolate.

  • Louis Allwood

    Face masks in class rooms rule change

    From tomorrow the PM has said people will not need to wear face masks in class rooms.

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