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The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s Covid plan: political survival is its point | Editorial

To gain the support of Tory MPs amid the ongoing partygate scandal, the prime minister is prepared to throw caution – and reason – to the wind There can be few people who don’t want to return to the happy-go-lucky days before Covid-19. It’s only human to hanker for a time when one could hug a friend or sit next to a stranger without fear of spreading a deadly disease. But the measured judgments of the government’s top scientists on Monday evening confirmed that going back to the norms of the pre-pandemic world remains some way off. Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance warned that infection rates remain high; that there are still significant numbers of people in hospital with Covid; and that a viral resurgence could “lead to [more] hospitalisations than Omicron”. This makes Boris Johnson’s decision to end all remaining Covid restrictions in England, including the legal requirement to self-isolate, baffling. Also gone by Thursday will be the self-isolation support payments of £500 for those on low incomes, and routine contact tracing. Next week Covid tests will no longer be free for most people including, bizarrely, NHS staff – which will inevitably leave vulnerable patients worried about a risk to their health. While restrictions are being relaxed in other parts of Britain, they have not been as dramatically swept away as in England. Continue reading...
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