Prime minister Boris Johnson announced that all covid restrictions will end on Thursday 24th February 2022. The prime minister told MPs that the legal responsibility of the public to self-isolate after a positive test has been removed.
Free coronavirus testing will be also come to a halt on 1st April and will only be available for people considered highly vulnerable, despite the British Medical Association claiming this decision will fail to protect those who are at a higher risk from covid.
Opposing political parties have voiced their concern regarding the removal of free covid testing and believe the prime minister has made this decision far too soon. The Scottish government believe the removal of covid restrictions should not occur based on the health advice that they have received.
The prime minister has described this pandemic as “one of the darkest years in our peacetime history”. He expressed how England has passed its peak of the Omicron variant as hospital admissions are falling as well as covid cases. He said we are prepared to respond to any new variants, but for the time being the country is looking to complete the “transition back to normality”
Changes in England
People with positive tests will still be advised to stay home and not be in contact with other people for 5 days.
Track and trace will end allowing for fully vaccinated people, including those under 18, who are in close contact with a person who is positive to no longer to take daily tests as they are not legally required.
The support payment of £500 for people with a positive test on a low income are no longer available as they do not have to self-isolate anymore and can return to work.
The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme closes for coronavirus related absences after 17 March 2022.
Free Covid testing for the general public will also come to an end from 1st April 2022.