UK government to abolish most Covid rules, self-isolation in England

Madrid Desk, Feb 21 (EFE).- Almost all domestic Covid-19 measures, including requirements to self-isolate after a positive test, are to be lifted in England this week, the United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday.

“It is now time to move from protecting people with government interventions to vaccines and treatment as our first line of defense,” Johnson told MPs.

Free testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic people of the general public will also end from April 1 while older age groups and the vulnerable will continue to receive free tests.

Johnson said the restrictions were being lifted now because levels of immunity are high, deaths low and because Omicron is less severe than other variants.

“People will be asked to exercise personal responsibility just as we encourage people who may have the flu to be considerate to others,” Johnson said.

“Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental well-being and all the life chances of our children and we do not have to pay the price any longer,” he added.

Meanwhile in Germany, health officials were preparing the country for a progressive return to normality over the coming weeks.

If current infection rates are maintained, authorities hope to be able to lift most health restrictions by March 20.

Germany was awaiting the delivery of the first batch of vaccines developed by US pharmaceutical company Novavax, with which officials hope to boost the country’s somewhat stagnant 75% vaccination rate.

Health minister Karl Lauterbach said 1.4 million doses of Nuvaxovid are expected to arrive in the country this week, with another million to follow next week.

In total, Germany has ordered 34 million doses of this vaccine developed by Novavax for this year.

The EU authorized use of Nuvaxoid late last year for people over 18 years of age.

The inoculation is a more traditional protein-based vaccine, which German officials hope will convince the remaining 25% of residents who have reservations about the mRNA technology underpinning most currently available coronavirus jabs.

As of Friday, 76.2% of Germany’s population of 63.4 million people had been vaccinated, 75.1% with the full course, while 56.2% (46.7 million) had already received a booster dose.

The cumulative incidence in Germany rose slightly to 1,346.8 new infections per 100,000 people in seven days, compared to 1346.3 on Sunday, although it fell compared to last week, when it was at 1,459.8.

Rates were also falling in Russia, where just over 150,000 new cases were reported Monday, 20,000 fewer than the previous day, confirming a downward trend of infections.

In Moscow, the hotspot of the pandemic in Russia, 4,997 new cases were reported in the last day, almost 1,500 less than yesterday, while 9,043 were registered in St. Petersburg.

The decline in cases is particularly noticeable in Russia’s two largest cities, which have been at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic.

According to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko last week, about 20% of all coronavirus patients in Russia are minors.

According to health authorities, just 56% of Russia’s 144 million-strong population have received the full vaccination schedule, far below the 80% target set by the authorities.EFE

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