By Benjamin Flowers: Despite criticisms of a potential negative impact on health systems, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his country’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted this week, reports NBC News.
Johnson announced on Monday, that as of Thursday, February 24, those who tested positive for COVID-19 will no longer have to self-isolate.
“Covid will not suddenly disappear,” Johnson told Parliament, “so those who would wait for a total end to this war before lifting the remaining regulations would be restricting the liberties of the British people for a long time to come.”
Johnson’s announcement comes shortly after it was reported that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had tested positive for COVID-19. Johnson said the announcement by Buckingham Palace of the Queen’s positive test was a reminder that the virus has not gone away.
“Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental well-being and on the life chances of our children — and we do not need to pay that cost any longer,” said Johnson, whose announcement only covers England, as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland set their own health policy.
Notably, Johnson has been facing pressure from lawmakers in his own Conservative Party to end COVID restrictions, while also facing public pressure and a police investigation for holding parties at his home on Downing Street, while such gatherings were prohibited by law.
The UK has already ended mandatory mask earing, ahead of some other European countries. Pubs were recently given the green light to reopen, a celebration that saw the sale of over 80,000 kegs of beer in Ireland over a weekend in late January.