And his latest statement to the House of Commons has prompted claims from Jarrow MP Kate Osborne that it was a cynical attempt to shift focus away from negative headlines.
She said: “I am particularly concerned for clinically vulnerable people across our communities who will become even more at risk when restrictions are eased.
“We know that symptoms of this strain seem to be mild, but deliberately allowing it to spread like wildfire across the country is reckless and will put unnecessary pressure on our NHS and those who provide essential services across our region.
“Boris Johnson shouldn’t be using a public health crisis to try and distract from his abysmal leadership.”
Addressing parliament after another bruising session at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson claimed the “Omicron wave has now peaked nationally”, but conceded “significant pressures” remain on the NHS in the North East.
While face coverings will no longer be mandatory in England from next week, they will still be recommended for “enclosed or crowded spaces”.
Work-from-home guidance has also been dropped, while the NHS Covid pass scheme will now be voluntary for those organisations and venues which want to stick with it - a move described as a “fudge” by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
She added: “As usual, Boris has made an announcement with a lot of grey areas - he’s not being clear and this is all about trying to get support back from his backbenches.
“If you talk to anyone who works [in industries where Covid passes] have been introduced, they just want clear guidance, otherwise it just puts the pressure on them.”