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England Ends Mandatory Masking, COVID-19 Passports

England is ending mandatory masking and its vaccine passport system on Jan. 27, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday.

Johnson ended “Plan B” measures, which include mask mandates, vaccine passes and remote work where possible, and he credited boosters and public obedience of COVID-19 rules with making the move possible, according to BBC News. He also said the Omicron coronavirus variant wave had peaked in England.

Under the new order, children will no longer be required to wear masks in class, and Johnson said he is looking to end mask mandates for students in communal areas shortly, BBC News reported. The prime minister’s other plans include ending the legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 and easing restrictions on visits to care homes.

U.K. daily infections have fallen significantly, according to BBC News, and more than 36 million boosters have been administered in the U.K.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said he would support the new measures “as long as the science says it is safe,” but he said that Johnson “has been absolutely shameless in veering from one position to the next and he has been wrong about virtually every single important decision,” The Telegraph reported.

MP Ian Blackford challenged Johnson’s leadership on COVID-19, saying he had thrown caution to the wind. “The Prime Minister is unable to lead on this issue or on any other and the public can’t trust a single word that the Prime Minister says. Any shred of credibility has gone,” Blackford told The Telegraph.

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Laurel Duggan

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Laurel Duggan

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