Nearly two years since the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister has today announced the end of all Covid restrictions across the country.
Addressing the House Of Commons, Boris Johnson says we have now passed the peak of the Omicron wave and wishes to move away from restrictions and towards a personal responsibility.
The “Living With Covid” plan would mean an end to the legal responsibility to self-isolate after a postive test, with Johnson saying “people will be asked to exercise personal responsibility just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others.”
Those who test positive will still be encouraged to stay at home, but will not be under the obligation by law. This change will come into place from Thursday, February 24.
From April 1, the free universal testing programme is also due to come to an end. It will be massively scaled back, and thought to be reserved for the most vulnerable in society. Those over the age of 75, and the immunosuppressed will also be offered a fourth jab, around six months after their initial booster dose.
Boris Johnson said it was time to “learn to live with the virus”, and scale back the cost of the test and trace programme, which is said to have exceeded £15.6 billion.
The country will now rely on vaccines and treatments to protect against Covid-19.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has called the plan “half-baked”, saying he believes the public will do the “right thing”, but the government is taking away the tools to do so.
This address was given to the House Of Commons this afternoon (February 21). A press conference is expected at 7pm.