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European countries scrap Covid rules despite warnings it’s too soon


After Norway removed most of its Covid regulations, Oslo has a pedestrian area.

Terje Pedersen | NTB | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Several European countries are scrapping Covid regulations, despite the WHO urging governments to “protect their people using every tool in the toolkit.”

Following the example of Denmark and Norway, Sweden has lifted most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

Boris Johnson, the U.K. Prime Minster, announced that he will end self-isolation for those who have tested positive for Covid sooner than anticipated.

Sweden has removed social distancing and vaccine passport restrictions. Also, there was no limit on how many people could gather in one location. On Wednesday, free testing was stopped in Sweden. The government plans to revalorize Covid from April 1st as a disease “not a risk to society or a concern for public health”.  

Last week the Swedish government released a press release stating that the situation was stable enough to permit the gradual elimination of all infection control measures.

It added that vaccination is “the single most powerful weapon against Covid-19.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, 73% in Sweden are fully vaccinated.

“Have patience!”

Fredrik Elgh from Sweden’s Umea University is however professor of Virolology. told ReutersThe country had to be patient and wait for at least two more weeks before lifting the restrictions.  

He said, “We’re wealthy enough to continue testing.” “The disease still poses a great strain to society.”

This is after Denmark became the first country in the EU to lift all of its Covid restrictionsThe number of cases fell to a record low on February 1. The country’s infection rate reached an all-time high just one day later.

According to the Danish government, Covid-19 was no longer considered a socially serious disease in January.

JHU data indicates that over 80% of Denmark is fully protected against the virus.

“Vaccines that offer protection”

Norway also removed “a substantial number of Covid-19” measures on February 1. But, Norway kept its recommendation that others be kept at a minimum distance of 1 meter and required masks for those who are unable to do so.

According to Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, “Even though many people have become infected in Covid-19,” a lower number of patients are being admitted into hospitals. “Vaccines are offering good protection — this means we can now remove a large number of measures, even though the infection rate is rising quickly.”

JHU data show that Norway saw 26,109 new cases in Tuesday’s record.

Johnson, a British MP told Parliament this week that his government would lift the requirement that Covid-positive people self-isolate by the end of the month.

People who are positive for the virus may be allowed to end their isolation within five days if they do not test negative by day five or six. At the end of January, many of the remaining restrictions, such as mask mandates in England, were removed.

This Wednesday saw the U.K. record 68.214 cases of Covid-19.

However, while Sweden, Norway, and Denmark had 114, 45, and 21 deaths from the virus, respectively, Wednesday’s outbreak in the United Kingdom saw 276.

“Creating a diversion”

Around 85% of the U.K.’s eligible population — those over the age of 12 — is fully vaccinated with two doses in Britain, official data shows, while two-thirds have received a booster shot.

Devi Sridhar is the chair and professor of global health at Edinburgh University Medical School. told Sky News on ThursdayThe majority of people will not find the U.K.’s isolation law decision surprising.

“Isolation means to stop someone from spreading infectious diseases.” [the virus]She said she would pass the information on to another person. “It’s, I think, too early right now … We have a system where if you test negative on that after day five [and]Day six is the best day to get out of isolation. It’s hard to believe that you would change this when there are still over 200 people dying each day.

Johnson’s leadership has been under scrutiny after an investigation found that Johnson and several government departments had violated Covid rules on numerous occasions. throwing and attending parties during coronavirus lockdowns. Johnson rejected all calls to his resignation from some lawmakers in his Conservative party.

Sky spoke to Sridhar on Thursday about her belief that government plans to remove isolation requirements from the U.K. were more politically driven than they are based on science.

She stated that “if you take a look at the timing it’s clear to create headlines, and distract from problems that the prime Minister is facing.” “We are now shifting the conversation towards the resolution of the pandemic. We believe there is a need for diversion.”

Christina Pagel is the director of University College London’s Clinical Operational Research Unit. She agreed with the assertion that plans by the U.K. to repeal isolation rules are “not science-based”.

“Dropping isolation makes socializing and work more dangerous, boosters are less effective and Covid evolves and is harder to track local cases,” she stated. said in a tweetOn Wednesday. “Basically, [the government] plans that we will all get Covid several times — like a cold, but with a much more dangerous disease.”

YouGov polled 4,451 British adults Wednesday to find 75% who believed that isolation rules should stay in place. Nearly half of respondents believed that people must be required legally to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid. However, more than one quarter agreed with the recommendation to keep the law in force for the next several months.

The survey found that only 17% believed people should not be legally obliged to remain in isolation after they have tested positive.

It is too soon to give up

On Feb. 1, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said most regions of the world were experiencing a “very worrying increase in deaths” due to Covid, thanks to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

He said that more transmission equals more deaths at a press conference. We aren’t asking any country for a return to the so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit – not vaccines alone.”

Tedros said, “It is premature for any country to either surrender or declare victory.”