Boris Johnson rips up 'draconian' Covid powers ahead of winter plan announcement

BORIS Johnson will this week light the touch paper to start a bonfire of Covid regulations.

Powers held to shut down swathes of the economy and impose limits on gatherings and events will be repealed.

The red tape roll-back is part of a masterplan from the PM, who is desperate to avoid any further lockdowns.

The temporary closing or limiting access to schools and powers to detain infectious people under the Coronavirus Act — called draconian by some Tory MPs — are no longer seen as necessary.

Downing Street views vaccines as the country’s “first line of defence” as we enter autumn and look to winter.

But there are still fears across Whitehall of Covid circulating alongside flu — while the threat of a new variant concerns ministers.

The PM, to unveil the strategy this week, last night said: “Thanks to the efforts of the public, the NHS and our phenomenal vaccination programme, we reached Step 4 in our roadmap and life has a sense of normality.

“These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures.
“But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need.

I will set out the next phase in our Covid response shortly.”

Yet legal requirements will remain in place for people to self- isolate if they test positive.

Authorities will also step in if schools close against government advice and powers stay to ensure the NHS get emergency resources.

Tory MP Steve Baker said it was a “sensible move” in “returning to a free society”.

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