End of Plan B 'gives us hope for normal future', Suffolk health leader says

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The relaxing of coronavirus 'Plan B' rules will give people "hope for a more normal future", a Suffolk health leader has said.

But Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS, has warned the region's hospitals remain under "incredible pressure" due to Covid.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed rules on face masks in stores and Covid vaccine passports, introduced in December after the emergence of the Omicron variant, will be lifted from next Thursday.

Dr Garratt has praised everyone in Suffolk and north Essex who has got their booster jabs, but urged people to remain vigilant as Covid hasn't "gone away".

He said: "Today’s announcement on the loosening of restrictions will seem like a huge relief for many and it certainly gives us hope for a more normal future.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covi

Boris Johnson has confirmed Plan B Covid rules will be lifted in England next week - Credit: PA

"I want to thank everyone who has done their bit so that we have been able to reach this stage. But, I really want people to understand this doesn’t mean it’s all over and that coronavirus has gone away. It hasn’t. Our hospitals, GP practices and community services all remain under incredible pressure.

"What this announcement means is that we are able to take some small steps back to normality, however, we all need to continue with those actions which will help our communities get back to where they were before this pandemic began.

"Only through vaccination has it been possible for these restrictions to be eased, so everyone eligible still needs to come forward, whether that’s for a first, second, third, fourth or booster dose.

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"There are lots of walk-in clinics taking place and we have no plans to end these. They will remain a pivotal part of our fight against coronavirus.

"I urge people to continue with other actions too, such as testing and regular hand washing.

"It’s also important to remember that wearing a face covering will still be needed in a health care setting, such as your GP practice – by doing so you will be helping protect the wellbeing of staff so that they can continue to provide a good service to their community."