WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 19 – Is the madness over? So says England and the World Health Organization [WHO].
The maskless UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, received a standing ovation in Parliament Wednesday when he announced that virtually all COVID restrictions will be lifted within the coming months. “As COVID becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others. “Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally,” says Johnson.
Johnson says masks will no longer be required, and Britain’s workforce can begin to return to their offices and places of work, effective immediately. And, he said that beginning almost immediately, the English population will no longer be required to wear masks.
It should be noted that the Prime Minister has been under siege lately, and the opposition has been urging that he resign. The New York Times believes his announcement is an effort to win back the support he has been losing in recent months. According to the Times, a “stream of disclosures about illicit social gatherings have engulfed Mr. Johnson’s government and emboldened mutinous lawmakers to push for a no-confidence vote that could topple him.” The Times article notes that he recently has made several positive announcements – what the newspaper calls “gambits” – in an effort to win back support and fend off his critics.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the worst is coming to an end as death rates and hospitalizations are reduced. However, WHO says, COVID may never go away.
According to the Epoch Times, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program is saying that “we may never end the virus [because such pandemic viruses] end up becoming part of the ecosystem … we have a chance to end the public health emergency this year if we do the things that we’ve been talking about. What we need to do is get to low levels of disease incidence with maximum vaccination of our populations, so nobody has to die. The issue is: it’s the death. It’s the hospitalizations. It’s the disruption of our social, economic, political systems that’s caused the tragedy—not the virus.”
Ryan went on to say that if we can shrink the numbers of new COVID cases and get more people vaccinated, “nobody has to die. The issue is: it’s the death. It’s the hospitalizations. It’s the disruption of our social, economic, political systems that’s caused the tragedy—not the virus.”
But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus may not be as cautiously optimistic as Ryan. Ghebreyesus appears to disagree with Ryan’s positivity and says, “Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths, and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities. The virus is circulating far too intensely with many still vulnerable. For many countries, the next few weeks remain really critical for health workers and health systems.”
It should be noted that the British take on the status of COVID recognizes that individuals who test positive for the disease and their contacts who have not been vaccinated will still need to isolate themselves. But Prime Minister Johnson also indicated that the protocol may come to an end soon. It’s due to expire at the end of March, and he says he doesn’t expect to renew it.
Johnson said that “As COVID becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.”