Boris Johnson has announced the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week.

The prime minister also told the Commons that the legal requirement on people with coronavirus to self-isolate would be allowed to lapse when the regulations expired on 24 March, and that date could be brought forward.

To cheers from some on the Conservative benches, Johnson announced an immediate end to the need for pupils to wear masks at secondary schools.

Updating MPs, the prime minister said Covid data was "showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right" and that the plan B rules imposed in December could be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.

"From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas," Johnson told the Commons.

"In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don't normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one."

Replying to the statement, Starmer said Labour "does not want to see restrictions in place any longer than necessary".

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said : "While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue.

Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate."

The changes apply only to England, as Covid restrictions, as part of health policy, are a devolved matter.

Work from home guidance, COVID passports and mandatory wearing of face-masks are being scrapped in England, as Boris Johnson announced the lifting of Plan B measures.

in scotland, the figure is also one in 20, but the number of people testing positive is up slightly from 99,200 to 104,300, with the ons describing the trend as "uncertain".

A further 108,069 lab-confirmed COVID cases were recorded in the UK as of 9am on Wednesday, suggesting the peak of the latest wave of coronavirus may have passed.

more than 34,000 people were in hospital with the virus at the peak of the second wave back in january.

Pressure to oust PM mounts Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Johnson of being "too distracted to do the job".

Scrapping of rules' a risk and could backfire' Scientists and nursing leaders warned the relaxation of COVID rules is "premature" amid extremely high levels of infection and "unrelenting" pressure on health services.

Royal College of Nursing chief executive Pat Cullen said : "The prime minister's decision to loosen the restrictions may have relieved the pressure from his backbenchers but will do nothing to relieve the pressure on the NHS."

He said : "If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices.

Face masks will no longer be worn in classrooms from Thursday and will no longer be needed in corridors from January 27.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary for school leaders' union NAHT said that Mr Johnson ’ s statement would feel "at odds with the current situation on the ground" for many school leaders.

Geoff Barton general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the announcement was to be welcomed, and was "supported by sound public health and scientific advice".

"We continue to be very concerned about the ongoing disruption to education and the lack of sufficient support from the Government for testing, ventilation and the costs of supply cover.

This really does need to be addressed," he said.

Stay up to date with our posts

Seamless Daily is an innovative news platform that is updated 24/7 to help you keep up to date with all the current events around the globe.

Our team of professional editors as well as our state-of-the-art artificial intelligence platforms ensure that our curation is accurate, fact-checked, and trustworthy.

Click here to subscribe

Read more

Nine out of 10 York residents want Prince Andrew to be stripped of his Duke of York title

Wetherspoons says Downing Street 'partygate' staff should have been allowed to go to the pub instead

Andre Leon Talley: Fashion world mourns 'indomitable' former Vogue creative director