Johnson's plan to end Britain's COVID restrictions thrown into jeopardy by minsters' objections

Johnson's "living with COVID" plan in part replace legal requirements for self isolate with voluntary guidance
Boris Johnson in Parliament

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to end COVID-19 restrictions Monday was thrown into jeopardy when Cabinet-level ministers reportedly objected.

Johnson's "living with COVID" plan, if enacted, was supposed to replace the legal requirements for infected people to self isolate with voluntary guidance and limit access to free virus testing – which has resulted in opposition from the leaders of Scotland and Wales and others.

They argue the policy change would make it harder to promptly combat new coronavirus variants, increasing public-safety risks, according to Reuters.

"Testing has played a pivotal role in breaking chains of transmission and as a surveillance tool helping us detect and respond to emerging variants," Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted. "It's essential that this continues."

Johnson, under criticism for his handling of the pandemic, including his personal compliance, appears to have crafted the plan to regain his political footing. 

However, it was expected to go into effect just a day after Queen Elizabeth tested positive for the virus and as Hong Kong builds isolation units and Europe keeps social distancing and vaccine rules, Reuters also reports.

The high-level dispute – which reportedly has also pitted British health and finance ministers over the level of testing and its financing – has delayed the Cabinet meeting Monday until the afternoon. 

A Johnson spokesman said the meeting was postponed until the afternoon "so that the prime minister could have both a security briefing and to have further meetings to finalize the plan on living with COVID."