Covid rules ripped up in three step plan back to normality as self-isolation ends in days


The Prime Minister this afternoon outlined his long-term plan for living with Covid in England in the House of Commons.

He told MPs of his plans to ditch all remaining coronavirus legal restrictions within just weeks, with the first major changes coming in just days.

From February 24 self-isolation will only be advised for those who test positive for the virus.

The legal requirement to quarantine for at least five days will be removed.

Vaccinated close contacts of positive cases will no longer be asked to take daily lateral flow tests, and non-vaccinated contacts will not be legally required to isolate.

On the same date, Government-funded self-isolation payments for the low paid will end.

Exactly one month later on March 24, changes made to statutory sick pay for Covid will return to their pre-pandemic arrangements.

During the health crisis, sick pay has been paid from day one of an employee’s absence, but will now return to only being compulsory after four consecutive days off.

The end of the self-isolation requirement is controversial and has been criticised by some scientists and opposition MPs.

Cabinet ministers were informed of the details of the plan earlier this afternoon.

A No10 spokesman said: “Cabinet gave unanimous backing to the living with Covid strategy.”

The changes in rules impact England only, with Covid rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set by the devolved administrations.

Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been rapidly decreasing in England in recent weeks.

There have been 29,753 infections confirmed by a positive test today, while there are 9,229 people in English hospitals with the virus.

Ten deaths have been recorded, although figures are usually lower on Mondays due to a weekend lag.

More to follow…


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