Numerous COVID restrictions will be dropped in England because government experts believe the Omicron variant "has now peaked nationally," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday.
As of Jan. 27, COVID-19 passes will no longer be needed to enter large-scale events and the use of face masks in public schools will no longer be required. After that day, masks won't be mandatory in public places in England either, the Associated Press reported.
Also, the British government will no longer advise people to work from home.
Hospitals in northern England are still under pressure because of high COVID-19 caseloads, but Johnson said hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units elsewhere in England were stabilizing or falling, the AP reported.
Infected people in England will still have to self-isolate for five days, but that measure could also end in the coming weeks, according to Johnson. The restrictions were enacted in December to slow the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and buy time for the population to get their booster shot.
"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," he said.
Johnson did warn that the pandemic is not over and urged people to remain cautious in the last weeks of winter, the AP reported.
Scotland and Wales make their own public health rules and have announced a similar easing of restrictions, the AP said.
With more than 153,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, Britain has the second-worst pandemic death toll in Europe, the AP reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on traveling safely during the pandemic.
SOURCE: Associated Press