Under current rules, anyone contacted by the National Health Service’s contact tracers must self-isolate for five days and provide the names of everyone living in their household.
Johnson’s announcement came Wednesday during a meeting with parliament.
Should cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, the Johnson ministry will present parliament with their comprehensive strategy “for living with COVID” after parliament reconvenes on Feb. 21.
While COVID fatigue is palpable in England, not everyone welcomed Johnson’s speech, as CNN notes:
A spokesperson for the UK campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice accused Johnson of “opening the floodgates for Covid-19” while failing to consider the consequences for those most vulnerable to the disease.
“Whilst the Prime Minister is bragging about lifting restrictions a month early, we’re struggling to keep up with the number of hearts that need to be drawn on the Covid Memorial Wall,” said Lobby Akinnola, referencing a stretch of wall in central London where people bereaved by Covid-19 have painted tributes to loved ones.
The left-wing Labor Party dinged Johnson’s remarks as well. Wes Streeting, Labor’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care viewed them as self-serving.
BBC News adds:
Mr. Streeting told the BBC the government needed a “real plan for living well with Covid”, adding Labour had published its own proposal – including provision for better sick pay and improved testing – and the prime minister was “welcome to nick it”.
Streeting added his opinion that Johnson was attempting to dig himself out of the hole he put himself in.
Johnson has come under criticism in recent weeks for flouting COVID restrictions that he had imposed on the country.
Johnson commissioned an investigation following widespread fury over a number of booze fueled parties he and his staff allegedly held while the United Kingdom endured strict lockdowns.
According to NBC News, the investigation’s interim report read in part:
“A number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did,” it added. It also called for a crackdown on the “excessive consumption of alcohol” in Downing Street, which it said was “not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.”
Elsewhere, Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the prime minister’s remarks were “grounds for optimism” amid the fall in cases.