The struggle to drag Britons 'back to normal'
Unions and Scientists claim Boris is moving 'too far, too soon' as he reveals ALL Covid rules will be gone in a fortnight - as YOUGUV poll shows 75% of public want to carry on isolating and half want curbs FOREVER!
Mr Johnson has declared that all coronavirus rules including self-isolation set to go from end of the month
Unison boss warned 'Covid risks haven't disappeared' and the PM's plans are 'going too far, way too soon'
And SAGE member said No10's scientists haven't discussed the move, cautioning that they bring 'dangers'
A top epidemiologist warned relaxing curbs is a 'political type of statement rather than a scientific one'
YouGov poll shows 75% believe self-isolation requirement should be in place for at least the next few months
Nicola Sturgeon's may now extend emergency Covid curbs until September - but will axe masks in classrooms
RESISTANCE From the UNIONS
Unions are already digging their heels in after Boris Johnson revealed he intends to ditch all remaining Covid laws within a fortnight as a poll revealed that three in four workers ground down by almost two years of lockdowns and restrictions want to continue with self-isolation.
Unison, Britain's largest union serving more than 1.3million members from swathes of the public sector, has accused the Prime Minister of going 'too far, too soon', insisting that the virus 'hasn't disappeared' — despite a raft of data suggesting the worst is now over.
Christina McAnea, general secretary of the public sector union UNISON, said: 'Everybody wants to get back to normal, but Covid risks haven't disappeared. This is going too far, way too soon. Infections are still rife in schools . Large numbers of pupils and staff are off . Allowing a premature return could lead to a further jump in infections and disrupt learning for thousands more children and young people.'
Unions have moaned about the PM's bid to return the country to complete normality, but Tory MPs and business leaders fear a failure to act and get the country back at their desks would be disastrous for the economy, and particularly city centres.
SAGE Scientists give WARNING
SAGE scientists [bought and paid for by the Big Pharma Cartel] have also warned of the 'dangers' of the PM's plan to make England the first country in the world to scrap all Covid rules, after it emerged Mr Johnson had not discussed it with the committee which is now infamous for its gloomy predictions about the pandemic.
And business leaders desperate to get staff back into largely-empty offices costing them a fortune admit they are struggling to compel people to return because workers are now so used to working from home.
With millions of people used to Working From Home, industry leaders have warned that it could prove harder for bosses to compel people to return to their offices than they suspect.
THE SHEEPLES RESPONSE
This has been compounded by a new YouGov poll of nearly 4,500 Britons that shows three-quarters of people believe the self-isolation requirement after a positive Covid test should remain in place. Half of people questioned admitted they want the legal requirement to stay in place forever. [Words fail me]
THE 'REAL' DATA
The resistance comes despite Covid infections falling consistently, with even the gloomiest surveillance study now accepting that the country's outbreak has peaked — mirroring the official numbers.
The milder nature of Omicron, coupled with sky-high immunity, means that the NHS never came under the levels of pressure that No10's experts feared would happen, with hospitalisations and deaths both now in free-fall.
BORIS TAKES A STAND
The Prime Minister yesterday dramatically declared the final domestic restrictions – including compulsory self-isolation for the infected – will be axed before the end of February, provided the 'encouraging' trends in the data continue.
WEE NIPPY RESPONDS - Kind of!
The announcement annoyed the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales - with Nicola Sturgeon's administration calling it a publicity stunt to divert from the Partygate scandal that has left the PM fighting for his job.
The First Minister did this afternoon pledge to ditch face masks in Scotland’s classrooms from February 28 — keeping them in communal areas — but says she will wait for expert advice before following Boris’s lead on any other rules.
The Scottish Government is unlikely to go as far as dropping all rules when it publishes its strategy for living with Covid in the months ahead on February 22. The plans will be debated by MSPs, meaning any changes could be several weeks behind England. The Scottish Government is even set to extend its Covid powers until September 24.
SHOCK!! IT TURNS OUT, COVID IS FLU AND OMICRON IS THE COMMON COLD
Boris Johnson's ministers have repeatedly spoken of their plans to live with Covid like flu, and the ditching of self-isolation rules will likely be hailed as being the final step on the road to normality. Up to three-quarters of people who catch flu don't show any symptoms yet they are not legally required to isolate, nor is there any mass-testing programmes to spot the virus, which can kill up to 300 people a day in bad winters. [unlike the flue which can and has killed as many as 1200 people a day in any given year, but mysteriously disappeared for 12 months when Covid was at its peak]
But the statement from the embattled PM yesterday – greeted with roars by Tory MPs in the Commons – was labelled as an 'attempt to distract' from the partygate scandal.
BUT IS IT JUST A SMOKE SCREEN?
The statement from the embattled PM yesterday – greeted with roars by Tory MPs in the Commons – was labelled as an 'attempt to distract' from the partygate scandal.
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said it 'wasn’t a thought-out policy backed up by public health expert advice', adding: 'It was a dead cat thrown on the despatch box of the House of Commons in order to distract and deflect.'
MEANWHILE - THE 'EXPERTS' PUT THEIR OARS IN
Epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector warned relaxing Covid curbs is a 'political type of statement rather than a scientific one', and said it was 'totally the wrong' way to show Britain has beaten Covid. Asked whether Mr Johnson's statement was irresponsible, he said: 'I think it is.'
Professor Devi Sridhar, a public health expert based at Edinburgh University, argued plans to revoke the rules is clearly intended to 'create headlines' and 'distract from the problems that the PM is facing which is that he seems to have broken lockdown rules'.
And Professor John Edmunds, an influential member on No10's SAGE panel, warned of the 'dangers' to the plan. He also admitted the advisory body, which has drawn flak for gloomy models throughout the pandemic, 'have not discussed' the move.
Asked on ITV's Peston last night whether SAGE has examined the move, Professor Edmunds said: 'We haven't discussed it there.
'Of course he [Mr Johnson] gets scientific advice from elsewhere as well. The UKHSA [UK Health Security Agency] and others. So he may have had other scientific advice but not that I'm aware of.' [from scientists who know what they're on about perhaps?]
On whether there are dangers to Mr Johnson's plans, Professor Edmunds added:
'Yes of course there are dangers. There are dangers when you lift any restriction.
'This restriction is the last one and quite rightly so. If you think about what it does, it targets those who are actually infectious with the virus and asks them to stay at home.'
Professor Spector, who runs the Zoe app Covid study at King's College London, said relaxing coronavirus rules is a political statement intended to show that Britain is the first country moving out of the pandemic.
He told Times Radio [a well known, reliable and responsible news outlet) this morning:
'I think we have to really look at this in the context, both of politics and science, and also what's happening, because there is some rationale to this and other countries are doing things similar.
'But it's clearly a race for the Government to say that Britain is first, Britain is the first to come out of this, Britain has conquered Omicron, our booster programme is world beating etc, etc.
'But I think what they're relying on is data that is highly disputed scientifically that, really, the UK has come out of this faster and better than anyone else.'
[unlike the highly disputed scientific data that Covid is no worse than flu ,Omicron is the common cold and the experimental gene therapy jab could kill you)]
He noted that Covid hospitalisations and deaths are down but the data from the Office for National Statistics the Zoe study show the UK is still at more than 200,000 cases a day 'and we're still close to where we were on January 1 and that peak we had'. [because we all know that a Case = Infection, and you're likely to die, eunless the PCR Tests are run at 25 cycles and then no one tests positive]
Professor Spector added:
'It's definitely not over – your risk of getting it is huge – and to suddenly give the wrong message… by saying 'We're getting rid of all restrictions, if you've got an infection don't bother isolating', which is sort of implied but not said, that is totally wrong.
'So, other countries might be doing this, but they have a much stronger public health message and a much better-educated public about the pandemic which we lack here in this country.'
[so not only does this arrogant arse-wipe professor think that two years of continuous brainwashing has not had any effect, he also thinks we are uneducated thicko's]
Professor Tim Spector said other countries will stick with four or five days of isolation.
'They won't be saying to everyone "Don't bother, just go and infect your workmates", which seems crazy,' he said. (!!!)
Asked if Mr Johnson's announcement was 'an act of irresponsibility', he said: 'I think it is… giving the impression that Britain, that the UK, has beaten Covid, I think it's totally the wrong way to do it.'
Professor Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, told Sky News that Mr Johnson's plans won't be 'a welcome surprise to most people'.
She said England has a 'great' testing system and people can end their quarantine after five days in most cases, while most other restrictions have come to an end due to vaccines and Covid medicines.
Professor Sridhar said: 'If you look at the timing, I mean it's really clearly to create headlines today and distract from the problems that the Prime Minister is facing which is that he seems to have broken lockdown rules, which many other people had to face accountability and had to face consequences for.' [It's no coincidence that as one of the woad-faced Picts and Celts she is merely parroting the Wee Numpty party line]
She added: 'We're now having a shifting of the dialogue towards discussing the end of the pandemic, because there's a need to create a diversion instead of looking at that issue and saying the scientific evidence isn't there right now to completely release isolation whose actively infectious.' [When we all know there was never one shred of scientific evidence that Covid even existed in the first place]
Stephen Griffin from the school of medicine at the University Leeds said:
'In my view, the way in which this is being implemented is a profound mistake. Again.
'Literally blinding ourselves by removing testing and isolation robs us of the most fundamental means of controlling the spread of this virus.'
Both the Scottish and UK governments are to set out their long-term plans for living with fewer restrictions after the coming week of recess at Holyrood and Westminster.
But while Mr Johnson hinted that curbs could come to an end early if case numbers fall, the SNP government has moved to extend the period in which they might continue to apply.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that ministers 'believe it is necessary to retain the availability of these baseline measures for now while we review our ongoing response to Covid'. [No Emergency - No Experimental Gene altering Jabs]
He added: 'The Government is committed to regularly reviewing these regulations, as we are required to, and the continued removal of any measures considered no longer necessary.'
However, yet another rift appears to be opening up between Mr Johnson and Ms Sturgeon, with a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government saying that the UK Government 'failed to provide devolved nations with appropriate notice to consider implications ahead of the announcement by the Prime Minister'.
She said Scottish ministers are urgently seeking clarity from the UK Government to consider any implications its announcement could have for Scotland, adding: 'Regardless of decisions made by the UK Government, it is vital that Scotland can continue to access funding to support the policy decisions taken in Scotland in response to Covid.' [What about the Billions we give you every year - Barnett Formula - to keep you wet miserable country afloat?]
Last week, Miss Sturgeon left the country's Covid measures unchanged, including enforced mask wearing by schoolchildren, telling Holyrood a 'significant fall' in infection levels the country has seen in recent weeks had now 'levelled off'.
She told MSPs a meeting of her cabinet had decided that the remaining baseline measures would stay in place 'for now'. But she is facing pressure from the Scottish Tories, who yesterday called for the scaling down of Test and Protect, a phased end to all legal restrictions and a new levels system which will be aligned to data on the virus.
Both Ms Sturgeon and Labour's Mark Drakeford in Wales have been far more cautious about removing curbs. The Scottish First Minister is due to release her plan for living with Covid later this month — but Mr Drakeford has not revealed whether he will follow the PM's lead.
The PM — who had already said he wanted the rules to expire naturally on March 24 — [when the emergency legislation ends] made the dramatic announcement at the start of PMQs in the Commons yesterday.
The step was greeted with roars in the chamber, with many Tories having been pushing for the Government to draw a line under the pandemic with the country having been subject to virtually unprecedented peacetime restrictions since early 2020.
Plan B requirements for people to work from home where possible was dropped last month, along with most face mask rules and compulsory Covid passes.
Legal experts say firms already have a longstanding duty of care to protect the health of their staff irrespective of Covid and warn it is possible businesses could be dragged to employment tribunal if an outbreak in the workplace leads to serious illness or the death of a friend or relative known to the complainant.
SO WHATS THE ACTUAL POSITION?
Current restrictions have left tens of thousands of Britons off work every day, with 80 per cent of the 70,000 people testing positive daily sticking to the rules that orders them to isolate for at least five days. [False positives account for 97% of all PCR Tests]
The rules caused one in 11 teachers to be off school due to the virus last week.
But scientists and unions have criticised plans to end all restrictions, including requirements for infected people to self-isolate, the public to wear masks in medical settings and hospitality venues able to ask for Covid passes.
MEANWHILE - IN THE ALTERNATIVE REALITY CALLED 'THE Labour Party'
Labour leader Keir Starmer insisted he is holding back on whether the restrictions should be eased, but shadow health minister Justin Madders made clear the party needs convincing that the step is 'a result of scientific advice and not based on protecting his political position'.
The news could give Mr Johnson a much-needed boost as he battles to cling on amid damaging Partygate allegations.
Lord Frost, who dramatically quit Cabinet partly in protest at draconian curbs, was among the senior Tories praising the move. 'The PM's plan to end all Covid restrictions a month early is the right thing to do and is extremely welcome. I hope the government will also make clear we will not go down the road of coercive lockdowns ever again,' he tweeted.
Tory MPs last night insisted that lockdowns should never be deployed again. 'I am glad to see the emphasis on learning to live with Covid,' said Bob Seely, who represents the Isle of Wight.
'We now need a grown-up and sensible approach setting out how we will protect the vulnerable in future without the enormous cost of locking down the rest of society. We know Covid may return this autumn or winter, but it would be indefensible to lock down again.'
David Jones, a former Cabinet minister, welcomed the 'very positive' news, adding: 'The PM deserves credit for this. We have locked down for too long and we now need a commitment that we will not lock down again, save for in the most exceptional of circumstances.'
Former minister Steve Baker added: 'I welcome this announcement but we are not out of the woods until the Public Health Act has been reformed, we have new rules for better modelling, competitive, multi-disciplinary expert advice and wellbeing-based cost-benefit analysis covering the costs of lockdowns and restrictions. There is much to do!'
The PM's press secretary said businesses would be given a 'wide range of guidance' on how to treat employees following the removal of the Covid self-isolation requirement.
The plan will also set out what arrangements will be in place for international travel, Downing Street said.
'The living with Covid strategy will address the future of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which is due for review by March 25, 2022,' the Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters. [Remember, - No Emergency Regulation - No Experimental Jab]
'That covers the remaining non-domestic regulations on international travel, so that's things like the passenger locator forms and tests for the unvaccinated.'
Asked if those rules would remain in place until the end of March, the spokesman said 'we will obviously make a decision when we get to that stage'.
A spokesman for Sir Keir said: 'All Keir heard was the one sentence at the start of PMQs. We will be looking for a lot more detail before we comment on that.
'We will judge it, as we always have, on the science. Let's see what the plan says when it appears, rather than the Prime Minister's comments in the chamber.' [so not only is Sir Keir Stammer the paedo's friend - he's hard of hearing too]