Today Prime Minister announced to Parliament that all remaining Covid restrictions in England – including the legal rule to self-isolate – could end later this month.
At the start of Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson announced to MPs that “It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with Covid.”
“Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – a full month early.”
However, the latest daily official figures for the UK on Tuesday showed another 66,183 people tested positive for Covid and a further 314 people had died. There are currently 13,793 people in hospital with Covid.
Self-isolation rules expected to expire:
The self-isolation regulations are due to expire on 24 March, with the Prime Minister telling MPs that he does not expect not to renew them.
If there was to be an extension, he would need to bring forwards a vote. Given the largest rebellion of this Parliament before Christmas, a vote would be difficult for the Prime Minister given the other pressures affecting his leadership.
Rules for travellers coming to the UK are also being relaxed later this month.
From this Friday 11 February, fully vaccinated people coming to the UK will not need to take any Covid tests. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will no longer have to isolate but they will have to take tests.
Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of Independent Sage, Martin McKee said: “Given how there are still many people in England unvaccinated, this seems a surprising decision but it will be important to see the advice on which it is based.
“Otherwise there is a risk that it will be seen as a distraction from the Prime Minister’s many other problems. And of course, as the Prime Minister says it all depends on what happens next, something none of us can know.”
Image Credit: NIAID