Star comment: Fingers crossed it's not a false dawn

After weeks of gloom, finally some good news.

Rules on face masks are being eased
Rules on face masks are being eased

The so-called ‘Plan B’ restrictions, introduced at the end of last year to counter the new Omicron variant, are to be lifted in their entirety over the next week.

People will be free to return to the office, masks will no longer be mandatory in shops, and compulsory vaccine certification will be dropped.

This will come as a great relief to many. By and large, people are social animals who have found the last 22 months tough indeed. Most want to return to the workplace, where they can interact with colleagues, just as children want to interact with their friends at school, without having to wear a mask.

For all the shenanigans of recent weeks, we believe the Prime Minister was right to introduce restrictions, when the danger posed by the Omicron variant was still in question.

Had the restrictions been tighter, as some called for, then the economic consequences could have been catastrophic. Doing nothing at all would have been a great gamble with public safety.

Of course, there have been false dawns before, and we trust the lifting of rules is based on scientific evidence rather than a desire to get Boris Johnson off the hook in a crisis of his own making.

But for all these misgivings, it genuinely appears that the worst is now behind us. The vaccines, developed in record time, have been far more effective than anyone could have realistically expected, and the treatments for patients with the illness have come on in leaps and bounds.

Hopefully the lifting of the restrictions will be the first step towards Covid-19 becoming an endemic virus we can live with, rather than a pandemic that threatens our way of life.

The Plan B announcement was a welcome distraction from the ongoing political storm surrounding Boris Johnson.

But it failed, as he had presumably hoped, to take the heat from his own precarious position. After another difficult time in the Commons, various backbenchers – including a few from our region – were brought out to insist the crisis was now over and the PM was in a stronger position than before.

While a few of our MPs spoke in favour of Mr Johnson, many others have simply said nothing at all. They are, presumably, waiting to see what happens before deciding what do and where to place their loyalty.

Meanwhile, the public will have watched on with a mixture of amusement and dismay at the chaotic and disorderly scenes in the Commons. If a school was found to have similar discipline issues, it would be placed in immediate special measures.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News