'We must learn to live with Covid' says health secretary on Plan B's end
- Credit: PA
Sajid Javid has told the public we "must learn to live with Covid" - but emphasised the need to "stay vigilant".
This follows the prime minister's announcement earlier today in the House of Commons about Plan B being scrapped across England.
Speaking at a Downing Street conference, the health secretary said: "This is the start of the next chapter in this country's fight against Covid-19.
"This is a moment we can all be proud of, a reminder of what we can accomplish when we all work together.
"Data shows Omicron is in retreat. There has been a fall in infections and the number of Covid patients in intensive care is at the same level as it was in July 2021.
"This is why we are ending guidance on working from home and mandatory certifications based on vaccines and tests will end.
"We will no longer legally mandate face masks, but we suggest that they are worn in enclosed and crowded places.
"We are also exploring where we can ease restrictions. We are looking to replace legal requirements for self-isolation with guidance, and there are plans to ease restrictions for visiting care homes."
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But the health secretary emphasized the importance of not seeing this as the end of the pandemic, adding: "This move represents a major milestone but it is not the end of the road and we shouldn't see this as the finish line. We cannot eradicate this virus and its future variants.
"We must learn to live with Covid in the same way we've learned to live with flu. We must stay vigilant and be mindful that there could be bumps in the road ahead.
"We've worked to make sure the NHS will be ready and resilient, building surge hubs and making deals with the independent sector, but it is still facing significant pressure.
"Everyone must think of what they can do to keep the virus at bay, be that washing your hands, letting in fresh air or getting tested and self-isolating if you're positive.
"The best step we can all take is to get vaccinated. Jabs have got us this far and they can keep us here.
"As long as there are people who haven't been protected, we know that our defences are not as strong as they could be and the NHS is under more pressure than it should be."