In the House of Commons the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the last Covid restrictions in England, including the need to self isolate after testing positive, could end a month earlier than planned. The current regulations in force are due to end on March 24th but it looks as this may be brought forward. So does this signify the beginning of the end of the hold that the virus has had on us for the last two years and will Northern Ireland follow suit?
We Are Now In A Much Better Position
Senior Northern Ireland medic Dr Alan Stout, chair of the BMA’s GP committee, believes that the threat is over “to a degree”. He spoke on the BBC Nolan Show and this is what he said about the dangers of Covid receding, as copied from an article by Christopher Leebody on the Belfast Telegraph website:
“They are. We are seeing very positive, very optimistic messaging.”
“We are not seeing those very severe infections needing hospitalisation, needing intensive care and unfortunately dying. We are in a much, much better position at the moment.”
When asked if the country will get back to normal in the very near future he replied:
“I hope we will be.”
“We quite clearly can see the patterns now. We still have very high community transmission, but it is not being translated into hospitalisations and deaths very fortunately,” he added.
“I think we have to move on. I think this is the natural next step of that as we try to move back to normal.”
Face Covering Likely To Become Guidance Rather Than A Legal Requirement
And on the use of face covering Dr Stout said that:
“I think that is going to become guidance as opposed to a legal requirement and I think that is good,”
“I think that enforcement… is something that can be relaxed at this stage but I would like to see people continue to wear them for reassurance.
“I think all along it has to be really clear and explicit. There are an awful lot of people still very anxious and we need to accommodate those people as well.”
If Northern Ireland can follow the same timeline as England seem to be now following it would be a real boost to so many businesses. The travel and tourism industry would certainly breathe a huge sigh of relief and removing the self isolation rules would mean less staff shortages right across the board.