The Prime Minister has confirmed that Plan B restrictions will be lifted in England following a review of the latest Covid data.
Boris Johnson confirmed in an update on Wednesday (19 January) that the Omicron wave appears to have peaked in the UK, and Covid-related hospital admissions have stabilised.
Mr Johnson signalled his intention to start treating Covid-19 more like flu, saying the UK government is aiming to remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether in the near future
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming rule changes.
When will Plan B rules end?
Plan B Covid measures will come to an end in England from Thursday next week (27 January).
What changes to restrictions will be made?
From 27 January, the following changes will be made to Covid-19 restrictions in England.
Mandatory Covid passes will no longer be required to access venues large events, meaning people will not have to show proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test to gain entry.
Working from home
Work from home guidance will come to an end, with workers instead told they can return to offices.
It will no longer be mandatory to wear face masks anywhere in England from 27 January.
The requirement to wear face coverings in classrooms and school communal areas will be scrapped from this Thursday (20 January).
The government is still suggesting the use of face coverings in cramped or crowded spaces, but instead trust people to make a judgement.
Mr Johnson said: “From tomorrow, we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet – but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
What other rules could change?
Restrictions on visits to care homes will are set to be eased further, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid due to set out plans “in the coming days”, and an announcement on Covid travel rules will be made “in the next few days”.
Pre-departure Covid-19 tests have already been scrapped in England for eligible fully vaccinated passengers and under 18s, and travellers are no longer required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK from abroad until the receipt of a negative PCR.
Since 9 January, eligible fully vaccinated travellers and over 5s now only need to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR on or before day two of their arrival in England, followed by a PCR test if they get a positive result.
The PM has also confirmed the intention to end the legal requirement to self-isolate in the coming weeks.
He told MPs: “As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures still remain, including those on self-isolation.
“In particular, it is still a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for Covid to self-isolate.
“On Monday we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate 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 March 24, at which point I very much expect not to renew them. Indeed, were the data to allow, I’d like to seek a vote in this House to bring that date forward.”
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