Boris Johnson has announced the end of coronavirus restrictions in England starting on Thursday. The legal duty to isolate for those who tested positive will drop as he revealed his “living with Covid” plan.
Johnson believes that this could now complete the “transition back towards normality”, while still remaining alert to respond to a Covid resurgence or new variant.
The nation had passed the peak of Omicron, with a decrease in cases and hospital admissions.
From 1 April free mass testing will stop and it would only be targeted to the most vulnerable, the Prime Minister said.
Moreover, routine contact tracing will end, so fully-vaccinated close contacts and under 18 will no longer be legally required to test daily for seven days.
England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said: “The ending of virus restrictions will be a gradual, steady change over a period of time”, adding, “this is not a sudden everything stops.” As he said the number of people being infected with Omicron was still “very high”.
It is still crucial that the nation retains a virus surveillance system to monitor new threats and the capacity to rise up measures again quickly to protect the vulnerable.
Johnson told MPs: “It’s time to move from government restrictions to people exercising personal responsibility.”