The GBP EUR exchange rate was higher by 0.07% and trading above the key 1.2000 level after further rules were dropped in the UK. The Plan B restrictions are also set to be dropped as Omicron wanes in the UK. France was also set to create a timetable for the easing of rules.
The GBP to EUR was trading at 1.2005 after seeing new highs for the year on Wednesday.
The UK moves to remove restrictions once again
The UK is moving to axe work-from-home advice and rules on face coverings in classrooms after Plan B measures to curb the spread of Omicron were dropped.
Other measures such as mandatory use of face masks on public transport and in shops will go, alongside the NHS Covid pass.
The government hopes that the legal requirement to self-isolate scrapped when regulations expire on the 24th of March. Health secretary Sajid Javid said we must “learn to live with” Covid, but also urged caution.
He told Sky News: “Covid is not going away, it’s going to be with us for many, many years – perhaps forever – and we have to learn to live with it. We do still need of course to remain cautious; prevalence remains high.”
Asked if the self-isolation rules would be scrapped in March, he added: “We are not there yet –that’s a few weeks away.”
Cynics may believe that Boris Johnson is looking to boost his approval ratings after the recent scandals over parties at Downing Street.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair has also attacked Johnson over lacking a coherent plan for the future. The former prime minister said that without a radical shift in policy Britain faces “a steady, inexorable compound decline, similar to the 1960s and 1970s”.
“There is a gaping hole in the governing of Britain where new ideas should be,” the recently knighted Blair said. “It needs a plan … At present, there isn’t one.”
France looks to set out a timetable for removing restrictions
France is set to unveil a timetable for easing virus restrictions tonight, government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, said, though he cautioned that the Omicron wave had not reached a peak. Prime Minister Jean Castex and his health minister, Olivier Veran, will unveil the timetable.
Attal said France’s new vaccine passport rules would help allow a softening of rules even as the rate of infections continues higher.
France reported nearly half a million coronavirus infections on Wednesday, marking a seven-day average at 320,000 cases. However, the number of patients in hospitals is low.
France is bringing in the health pass at a time when it is being scrapped in the UK. The rule change has re-ignited protests on the streets of Paris.
Tomorrow will see data from the UK in the form of consumer confidence and retail sales. Stable employment and higher inflation this week have given the Bank of England further reasons to consider another interest rate hike at their next meeting.
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