No need for more Covid restrictions - the data doesn't support it, minister says

3 January 2022, 07:16

Stephen Barclay has said data suggests no new restrictions need to be introduced.
Stephen Barclay has said data suggests no new restrictions need to be introduced. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Stephen Barclay has insisted that the latest data does not support the introduction of more Covid restrictions.

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He said the Government had seen a "behaviour change" from the public, following the introduction of Plan B before Christmas.

The rules introduced included mandatory face masks in most indoor public places, work-from-home guidance and Covid passes for big events.

Asked whether further restrictions for England could be on the way, Mr Barclay said: "We don't think the data supports that at this stage.

"Of course we keep the data under review but we've seen significant behaviour change as a result of Plan B.

"The widespread use of testing is an illustration of the fact the British public are taking sensible steps to take themselves safe, to keep friends and family safe."

Read more: Schoolchildren told to wear masks in classrooms in bid to stop spread of Omicron

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He continued: "That's why there has been such a demand for testing in recent weeks.

"So that, combined with the booster programme, is the key way as a country we will avoid the need for further measures."

It comes after it was revealed on Saturday that a further 162,572 lab-confirmed cases were recorded in England - a record for daily reported cases.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said at the time that further Covid restrictions would be an "absolute last resort".

Meanwhile, it was announced earlier on Sunday that face masks would be reintroduced in classrooms to prevent the spread of the virus among schoolchildren.

The guidance will remain in place until January 26, when Plan B measures will also expire.

The restrictions are set to be reviewed in the coming week.