Prime Minister urged to “end homework and revive the economy” | Politics | News

Demands for a return to “normalcy” have multiplied, with official figures showing that Covid cases are now on the decline in almost all regions of the country. The current restrictions, known as Plan B, expire on January 26 and will be reviewed in a fortnight by ministers.

The measures include advice on working from home where possible, as well as a requirement to wear masks indoors and vaccine passports for major events.

Mr Johnson is urged to prioritize ending the work from home orientation in an effort to spur economic growth.

Statistics from the UK Health Security Agency show Covid rates are dropping in eight of England’s nine regions, suggesting the worst of the Omicron wave may now be over.

With the number of coronavirus cases falling again yesterday to 120,821, down 13.1% from last week, Professor David Heymann said the UK is the most northern hemisphere country close to the end of the pandemic.

He said: “The countries we know best in the northern hemisphere have different stages of the pandemic.

“And probably, in the UK, it’s the closest country to being out of the pandemic, if it isn’t already, and to having the disease as endemic as the other four coronaviruses.”

Professor Heymann, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the immunity of the UK population was already high, which “kept the virus and its variants at bay.”

With Covid cases only increasing in the northeast, it is hoped that many restrictions can be relaxed by the end of the month. The Prime Minister said last week that he hoped Britain would return to something “much closer to normal” by then.

Scientists have said that working from home is one of the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of Covid.

But big companies have insisted they will bring more workers back to the office if government policy on working from home changes while hotel bosses have renewed their calls for the guidelines to end.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in city centers have been hit hard by the lack of outgoing office workers for lunches, dinners and drinks after work, with many places not opening this month due to the low number of clients.

The British Beer and Pub Association has called for a timeline similar to last year’s roadmap so that businesses can prepare for returning customers. Chief Executive Officer Emma McClarkin said: “Many operators have closed sites in city centers throughout January due to government messages about working from home.

“We need to know when this will end because we are really struggling under leadership to be viable in cities and downtowns.

“We were also encouraged by the potential move to a five-day isolation period. We need the government’s message to change in order to restore consumer confidence.”

Industry body UK Hospitality has called for it to be looked at in the same way.

Chief Executive Officer Kate Nicholls said Covid masks and passports have an end date and asked for the same for work from home.

She said: “We need certainty on how we are going to lift the restrictions and how we are going to move forward and live with this virus.

“We need to quit the home counseling job as soon as possible, but we also need a timetable.”

She said hotel businesses in city centers were seeing sales around 50% lower than expected, with a devastating 80% drop in London.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said there are currently no plans to end working from home.

But he added: “Obviously we would like to remove this as soon as it is right to do so.”

The government said yesterday that another 379 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to 150,609.

Data shows that the Northeast – the only area not to record a decline – currently has the highest infection rate (2,597.4 spotted cases per 100,000 people in the week ending Jan. 5 ).

It was followed by the North West (2,402.5) and Yorkshire and the Humber (2,133.7). But at the other end of the scale, the South West had the lowest infection rate (1,415.9), followed by the South East (1,540.5) and the East of England ( 1,661), while London ranked sixth (1,679.8).

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