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Prime Minister sets out plan for living with COVID Published Date: 21/02/2022

The Prime Minister said: "Thanks to our hugely successful vaccination programme, the immunity built up in the population and our new antiviral and therapeutics tools, the UK is in the strongest possible position to learn how to live with Covid and end government regulation."

The plan covers four main pillars:

  • Removing domestic restrictions while encouraging safer behaviours through public health advice, in common with longstanding ways of managing other infectious illnesses
  • Protecting the vulnerable through pharmaceutical interventions and testing, in line with other viruses
  • Maintaining resilience against future variants, including through ongoing surveillance, contingency planning and the ability to reintroduce key capabilities such as mass vaccination and testing in an emergency
  • Securing innovations and opportunities from the COVID-19 response, including investment in life sciences

From 21 February: the government is dropping guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing

From Thursday 24 February:

  • People who test positive for Covid will no longer be legally required to self-isolate
  • But they will still be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days
  • Routine contact tracing will end so fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to test daily for seven days
  • Self-isolation support payments for people on low incomes who test positive for Covid will no longer be available
  • Covid provisions for increased statutory sick pay will apply for a further month

From 1 April:

  • Free mass testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic for the general public will end and will instead be targeted towards the most vulnerable
  • People with Covid symptoms will be asked to exercise personal responsibility when deciding whether to stay at home, until then they are still advised to do so
  • Current government guidance on Covid passports will end and it will no longer recommend venues use the NHS Covid pass