Aylesbury MP hails Boris Johnson's decision to end Covid restrictions in England

The MP hopes the changes will help make Aylesbury a 'vibrant' town again

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 1:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 1:17 pm

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler has hailed the decision to end Covid restrictions in England, following Boris Johnson's announcement yesterday (21 February).

The Prime Minister revealed at the House of Commons yesterday, that all Covid restrictions will finish in England on 1 April.

No longer will Covid positive residents in England have a legal duty to self-isolate, if the changes are approved in Parliament.

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Rob Butler with PM Boris Johnson

Self-isolation rules will finish on Thursday (24 February), if the Prime Minister's proposals are accepted.

Also, rapid lateral flow tests will no longer be available to the public free of charge from 1 April.

Currently, the Prime Minister says providing free testing is costing the Government £2 billion per month.

Mr Butler said: “This is excellent news. For nearly two years our lives have been restricted in unprecedented ways in order to combat the dangers of Covid-19. Thanks to the brilliant scientists, NHS staff and volunteers involved in the incredible vaccination effort, we are now able to take a huge step towards normality.

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler

"The focus now will be on each and every one of us taking responsibility for ourselves and those around us.

“We all know how much the restrictions have posed a heavy toll on our economy and society – so it is right that we now learn to live with the virus, and continue to protect ourselves while regaining our freedoms."

After briefing the House of Commons yesterday afternoon, Mr Johnson further clarified the announcement on a live television broadcast.

The prime minister said the country could now complete the "transition back towards normality".

Both chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty, and the chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, were more cautious when discussing the changes.

Professor Whitty said: "As we look at the next weeks, we still have high rates of Omicron and I would urge people in terms of public health advice, and this is very much the Government's position, that people should still if they have Covid try to prevent other people getting it and that means self-isolating.

"So, that is the public health advice. It would have been the public health advice, and will be the public health advice, for multiple other diseases."

Sir Patrick Vallance, added: "There is no guarantee that the next variant is as reduced severity as Omicron. It could be the same, it could be more, it could be less.

"You can celebrate when the sun's shining but take your umbrella with you."

Opposition leader Keir Starmer heavily criticised the upcoming changes, saying: “We can’t turn off Britain’s radar before the war is won. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ is not a responsible approach to a deadly virus. It actually risks undoing all the hard won progress the British people have achieved over the last two years.”

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, claimed the Prime Minister was "effectively saying to people: 'If you've got Covid, it's ok to go and potentially infect others in workplaces and settings elsewhere.'"

Mr Butler further outlined the reasons he welcomed the end of restrictions and his hopes Aylesbury could move towards a new normal.

He added: “People in the Aylesbury area have made incredible sacrifices to help tackle the threat posed by Covid-19 and many local people have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

"I fervently hope that we are now able to turn the corner.

“This new announcement will herald a return to the workplace for many people, helping businesses and making Aylesbury a vibrant town once again.

“I’d like to thank everyone locally who has played a part in tackling Covid, including health staff, key workers and parents who have juggled their jobs with teaching their children at

home.

"I pay special tribute to the thousands of people who volunteered to help their neighbours at such a difficult time.”