LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced the government would remove all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England and cut access to free tests as part of its “living with COVID” plan.
Below is a summary of the changes announced:
From Feb. 24:
– The legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test will end.
Adults and children who test positive will be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.
– Workers will not be legally obliged to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate
– Self-isolation support payments will end
– Routine contact-tracing will end
– Fully vaccinated close contacts of positive cases and under 18s will no longer have to take a test for 7 days
– Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated will no longer be legally required to self isolate
From April 1:
– People with COVID-19 symptoms will be encouraged simply to exercise personal responsibility in same way as those with flu would be encouraged to be considerate of others
From Feb. 21:
– The government is immediately removing the requirement for staff and children in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing
From April 1:
– Free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public will end
– Limited symptomatic testing will remain available for a small number of at-risk groups as well as for social care staff
– The government is working with retailers to ensure everyone who wants to can buy a test
From April 1, the government will no longer recommend the use of voluntary Covid status certification
– A spring booster vaccine will be offered to over 75s, care home residents and over 12s who are immunosuppressed
– The vaccine taskforce will continue to ensure UK has access to effective vaccines as they are developed
– The Office for National Statistics survey will be maintained to allow to continue tracking the virus with regional and age breakdowns to spot surges
(Compiled by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Alistair Smout)