The Prime Minister made a statement in the House of Commons earlier regarding the latest position on Covid-19. He confirmed that:
- This morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the booster campaign together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire.
- As a result,
- From the start of Thursday next week mandatory certification (requiring the NHS Covid pass for entry to certain businesses / events) will end. Organisations can, of course, choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily but the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England will end.
- From now, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office.
- Once regulations lapse, the government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere. (From checking my records, they came into force for 6 weeks from 10 December, so should lapse this Friday).
- In the country at large, the government will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded places, particularly where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but they will no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.
Boris Johnson went on to say that:
- On Monday the government reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when the legal requirement to self-isolate will be removed altogether – just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu. As Covid becomes endemic we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.
- The self-isolation regulations expire on 24th March, at which point the PM said he ‘very much expect[s] not to renew them’.
- In advance of that, the government will set out a long-term strategy for living with Covid-19, explaining how the government hopes and intends to protect our liberty and avoid restrictions in future by relying instead on medical advances – especially the vaccines.
You can find a transcript of the statement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-to-the-house-of-commons-on-covid-19-19-january-2022