Boris Johnson revealed his living with COVID plan, announcing the permanent removal of coronavirus restrictions. The Prime Minister outlined his plan for Brits to return to normalcy, with the severe limits to be removed over the following few months. All interim sections of the Coronavirus Act will be repealed by September 2022. Here are the important dates to remember:
Anyone who tests positive for Covid after Thursday, February 24 will not be forced to self-isolate. Fully vaccinated Brits and those under the age of 18 will not need to test for seven days starting Thursday. The legal need that unvaccinated close contacts self-isolate will also be eliminated, as will contact tracing. Self-isolation payments of up to £500 for low-income people will be scrapped from February 24.
Sick pay and employment and assistance allowance will be removed from March 24. During the pandemic, people could 'claim statutory sick pay' after four days and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) after seven days. However, the system will now go back to how it was pre-pandemic.
Free universal testing will end on April 1 but small amounts of free tests for symptomatic vulnerable people and NHS patients will continue. Asymptomatic testing will also continue in nursing homes and the NHS will continue to be provided free of charge. Mr Johnson confirmed:
The test, trace and isolation budget in 2020-21 exceeded the entire budget of the Home Office. It cost a further £15.7bn in this financial year. And £2bn in January alone at the height of the Omicron wave. We must now scale this back.
This spring vulnerable Britons could be offered either a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot, but a definite date as to when this will happen has not yet been confirmed. Immunosuppressed persons over the age of 75, care home residents, and children over the age of 12 will be eligible for another vaccine if it has been six months since their last dose.
There is also speculation that travel locator forms could be scrapped just in time for the Easter holidays.