By the end of this month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will proclaim the removal of all COVID-19 restrictions. More changes are being made to the procedure and will be available next week, including the removal of the PCR test and the continued delivery of free lateral flow testing (LFT) home kits.
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Living with COVID strategy
The restrictions in the UK will be lifted a month sooner, on 21 February.
According to reports in TheGuardian and TheTimes, scrapping isolation charges and streamlining COVID testing can save up to £10 billion.
The Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services will announce a 'living with COVID strategy' next week. Free COVID testing might be phased down, and the tracing system will be discontinued.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health responded to the reports, saying:
We've previously set out that we'll keep the provision of free testing under review as the government's response to COVID-19 changes.
No decisions have been made on the provision of free testing. Everyone can continue to get free tests and we are continuing to encourage people to use rapid tests when they need them.
List of guidelines post 21 February
- PCR tests to be scaled down
- PCR tests only available for the elderly
- Continuing free lateral flow tests
- Once tested negative on LFT, no need for PCR
- If LFT is positive, must still isolate for at least 7 days
- Legal requirement to self-isolate will be lifted
- Quarantine will not be imposed
PM Boris Johnson adds that he will end the remaining restrictions:
Providing the current encouraging trends in the data continue.