Top Recommended Stories

No Masks in Closed Spaces, Vaccine Proof Not Needed: UK Lifts COVID Restrictions as Omicron Threat Recedes

From Thursday onwards, face coverings are no longer required by law anywhere in England, and a legal requirement for COVID passes for entry into nightclubs and other large venues has also been scrapped.

Updated: January 27, 2022 9:25 AM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Rajashree Seal

Workers walk over London Bridge towards the City of London financial district during the morning commute, in London, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. The British government have asked people to return to working in offices starting Monday as they ease coronavirus restrictions. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
UK lifts COVID curbs for international travellers. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

London: The United Kingdom on Thursday lifted most COVID restrictions including mandatory face masks and vaccine documentation Thursday after Britain’s government said its vaccine booster rollout successfully reduced serious illness and COVID-19 hospitalizations. From Thursday (January 27) onwards, face coverings are no longer required by law anywhere in England, and a legal requirement for COVID passes for entry into nightclubs and other large venues have also been scrapped.

The UK government last week dropped its advice for people to work from home as well as guidance for face coverings in classrooms. The so-called “Plan B” measures were introduced in early December to stop the rapid spread of the omicron variant from overwhelming health services and to buy time for the population to get its booster vaccine shot.

You may like to read

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government’s vaccine rollout, testing, and development of antiviral treatments combine to make “some of the strongest defenses in Europe,” allowing a “cautious return” to normality.

But he added that “as we learn to live with COVID, we need to be clear-eyed that this virus is not going away.” While infections continue to fall, health officials said that omicron remained prevalent across the country, especially among children and the elderly.

Officials said that almost 84% of people over 12 years old in the U.K. have had their second vaccine dose, and that of those eligible, 81% have received their booster shot. Hospital admissions and the number of people in intensive care units have stabilized or fallen, and daily cases have fallen from a peak of over 200,000 cases a day around New Year to under 100,000 in recent days.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that the surge of omicron infections “has now peaked nationally.” As the government moved away from legal measures, some shops and public transport operators say they will continue to ask people to don their face masks. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said face coverings will still be required on the capital’s buses and subway trains.

The legal requirement for those infected to self-isolate for five full days remains, but Johnson said that measure will also end soon, to be replaced with advice and guidance for those infected to be cautious. Health officials have said they are planning a longer-term, post-pandemic strategy that treats COVID-19 more like the flu. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which make their own public health rules, have similarly relaxed their virus restrictions.

(With AP Inputs)

For breaking news and live news updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Read more on Latest World News on


By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts Cookies Policy.