Covid cases have risen nearly 50 percent since the beginning of the month, but the rest of the travel rules will be dropped in time for the Easter holidays.
Ministers are not “overly concerned” about the growing number of cases and hospital admissions, both of which began to rise this month after falling through February.
Scientists are unsure what caused the increase, but there is no strong evidence of a large return to normal mixing or a reduction in vaccine effectiveness.
NHS vaccinators have been told that boosters for immunosuppressed people over the age of 75 should start on March 21 and end at the end of June, and the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee is considering an extensive booster campaign later this year.
Boris Johnson insisted that the UK could control the virus through vaccines and treatment after removing all remaining domestic restrictions last month, ensuring that coronavirus cases no longer need to be separated by law.
Travelers arriving in the UK will still need to fill out a passenger locator form and those who have not been vaccinated will still have to take the test before and after arrival. However, a meeting of the government’s Kovid-o committee is expected to agree on the completion of the passenger locator form early next week, so that the immunization test is also on the agenda.
Johnson wants to be able to say that all restrictions have been lifted and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has backed the move. A date has not yet been confirmed, but sources said the locator forms will be released in time for the Easter holidays.
Yesterday, 67,159 covid cases were reported, with the rolling average now at 49,437, up 49 percent from March 1. The number of English hospital admissions began to rise two days ago and now averages 1,165 days, up 23 percent from the end of February. However, it is still at the peak of almost half of January, when the daily cases were less than one-third of what they were at the beginning of the year.
A senior NHS source said they still expected the overall fall growth to be a “shoulder” as the Omicron wave passed. “We are not worried, but we are keeping an eye on it,” they said.
The number of hospital admissions usually increases if the cases increase after one week or so and the reasons for the increase are uncertain. Statistics released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show that 99 percent of older adults have antibodies, with no signs of decay in the booster vaccine.
Official surveys suggest that at the beginning of the month, people still communicated only three times a day, which has remained largely unchanged since the end of last year’s lockdown. Google’s mobility data further suggests that visits to hospitality and leisure venues are still below December levels, while office attendance was before Omicron and is still 21 percent below pre-epidemic levels.
A White House source said the government has “several theories.” [for the rise], But we are not fixed on one. We haven’t seen any evidence of dramatic behavior change, so some scientists are considering reducing the vaccine, even though antibody levels are still high. What it does show is the value of our surveillance, and it’s important that we do it. “
The source added that “no one is worried too much at the moment, but we are keeping a close eye on it”.
Jeremy Hunt, a former health secretary, said “there seems to be a significant change in the first week or so of this month” and called for “more jumps in the fourth job”.