COVID protocols will ease in England starting next Thursday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that face coverings will no longer be obligatory in public places and COVID passports will be discontinued for events. 

The U.K. was the first country to restrict international travel as a result of the Omicron variant as concerns over mutations were high. In December, the government enforced its Plan B measures, which urged people to work remotely and follow protocols such as mandatory mask-wearing. It is now looking to relieve those protocols.

Johnson further added that the government plans to cease the legal need for people to quarantine after testing positive for COVID, the BBC reports. 

England lifts virtually all of its coronavirus restrictions, setting it at odds with the three other nations of the United Kingdom and sparking concern among scientists. England lifts virtually all of its coronavirus restrictions, setting it at odds with the three other nations of the United Kingdom and sparking concern among scientists. Photo: AFP / Tolga Akmen

"Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally,” Johnson said, as reported by Reuters. “Because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A."

The announcement comes as Johnson, leader of the Conservative Party, is enduring high levels of backlash after admitting his presence at a party while the U.K. was in a state of lockdown in 2020. 

Although England is alleviating some of its COVID measures, it seems many other parts of Europe cannot do the same as nations are reporting record coronavirus infections. CNBC reports that France recorded 464,769 positive cases on Tuesday, a record number amidst the pandemic. On Wednesday, Germany recorded over 100,000 cases.