PM statement to the House of Commons on COVID-19: January 19, 2022
PM statement to the House of Commons on COVID-19: January 19, 2022

PM statement to the House of Commons on COVID-19: January 19, 2022

Sir. Mr President, with permission, I would like to make a statement on our progress towards Omicron and the revision of our Plan B measures.

Within hours of learning from scientists in South Africa about the emergence of a new Covid variant last November,

this government acted,

to impose balanced and proportionate restrictions at our borders in order to slow down the planting of Omicron in our country.

As we learned more about this highly transferable new variant,

we implemented the plan B measures we had prepared, just in case our situation worsened,

encourage people to change their behavior to slow down the spread of the virus and buy crucial time to get boosters in weapons.

We made the big call to refocus our national health service,

necessarily require the difficult postponement of many other appointments –

So we could double the speed of the booster program.

And thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our NHS and its volunteers,

we delivered the fastest booster program in Europe and reached half of our population before any other European country,

with more than 36 million boosters now in arms across the UK, including more than 90 per cent of all over the 60s in the UK.

And with a balanced approach, we resisted calls from others to shut our country down again.

Many nations across Europe have endured additional winter lockdowns.

Many have seen curfews for hospitality and nightclubs closed,

capacity constraints at sports stadiums,

the return of social distancing,

and in some places Christmas and New Year are virtually canceled.

But this government took a different path.

We kept England open.

And we supported those companies facing reduced demand due to the response to Plan B measures.

And although we must continue to be careful,

the data shows it time and time again

this government got the toughest decisions right.

Today’s latest ONS data clearly show that the level of infection is declining in England.

And while there are some places where things are likely to continue to rise,

also in primary school –

our researchers believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally.

Of course, there is still considerable pressure on the NHS throughout our country, and especially in the Northeast and Northwest.

But hospitalizations

which doubled every 9 days just two weeks ago –

has now stabilized and filming in London is even declining.

And the numbers on intensive care not only remain low, but are actually declining as well.

So this morning, the government concluded it because of the extraordinary booster campaign

together with the way the public has reacted to the Plan B measures,

we can return to Plan A in England and let the Plan B rules expire.

As a result, the mandatory certification will expire from the start of Thursday next week.

Of course, organizations can choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily, but we are stopping the mandatory use of Covid status certification in the UK.

From now on, the government will no longer ask people to work from home, and people should now talk to their employers about arrangements to return to the office.

And after looking at the data carefully, the government concluded that once the rules lapse, the government will no longer mandate wearing face masks anywhere.

Sir. Mr President, from tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in the classrooms and the Ministry of Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in common areas.

In the country as a whole, we will continue to suggest the use of face clothing in enclosed or crowded places, especially where you come in contact with people you do not normally meet.

But we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear such.

The government will also ease further restrictions on visits to nursing homes, and my Rt Hon Friend, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will be making plans in the coming days.

Sir. Mr President, when we return to Plan A, Parliament will know that there are still some measures left, including those on self-isolation.

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

On Monday, we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests.

And there will soon be a time when we can completely remove the legal requirement for self-isolation – just as we do not impose legal obligations on people to isolate themselves if they have the flu.

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

The rules on self-isolation expire on March 24, and at what point do I very much expect not to renew them.

If the data allows, I would like to seek a vote in Parliament to bring forward this date.

Prior to that, we will set out our long-term strategy for living with Covid-19, and explain how we hope and intend to protect our freedom and avoid restrictions in the future by relying instead on medical advances – especially the vaccines already in place. has saved so many lives.

But to make it possible, we must all be careful in these last weeks of winter.

When there are still over 16,000 people in the hospital in England alone, the pandemic is not over.

And, Mr President, make no mistake, Omicron is not a mild disease for everyone – and especially if you are not vaccinated.

Just look at the numbers on intensive care in other countries where vaccination rates are far lower.

In fact, we know from our NHS data that about 90 percent of people on intensive care do not get a boost.

So I urge Members across Parliament to do everything possible to encourage any remaining voters who have not done so – to get a boost now.

And in the next few weeks, I urge everyone across the country to continue with all the cautious behavior that we know helps keep everyone safe.

hand washing,

let fresh air in,

to be tested,

self-insulating, if positive,

and, as I say, think about wearing a face mask in crowded and enclosed surroundings.

Sir. Mr President, Omicron has tested us, as Alpha and Delta did before.

But let’s remember some of what we have achieved.

We were the first nation in the world to administer a vaccine. We were the fastest in Europe to roll it out.

For outside the European Medicines Agency, this government made the big call to pursue our own UK procurement strategy instead of opting back to the EU scheme that some people called for.

We created a worldwide test program, the largest in Europe,

and also procured the most antiviral drugs in any country in Europe,

because this government made the great call to invest early in lateral flow tests and in groundbreaking drugs to protect the most vulnerable.

We have delivered the fastest booster campaign in Europe and we are the first to come out of the Omicron wave because the government made the big call to focus on our NHS, and to refocus our activity and lead that campaign to Get Boosted Now.

And that is why we have preserved the most open economy and society anywhere on the European continent,

and the fastest growing economy in the G7 –

because we made the difficult decision to open last summer when others said we should not,

and to keep things open this winter when others would have them closed.

This week, the World Health Organization said that although the global situation remains challenging, Britain could begin to see “lights at the end of the tunnel”.

And, Mr President, this is not a story.

Faced with the nation’s biggest challenge since World War II and the worst pandemic since 1918, any government would take some things wrong.

but this government got the big things right.

And I recommend this statement to Parliament.

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