The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that all remaining domestic COVID-19 restrictions will be removed across England.
During a Parliamentary hearing in the House of Commons on Monday, Boris Johnson also announced that mass COVID-19 testing will stop on April 1 and the legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus will be dropped.
Johnson said the country needs to “learn to live with this virus and continue protecting ourselves and others without restrictions on our freedoms.”
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He said the efforts Brits have made over the past two years means the country is now ready to move away from government restrictions and to position citizens with “personal responsibility, similar to how people treat having the flu.
“Covid will not suddenly disappear so those who would wait for a total end to this war before lifting the remaining regulations would be restricting the liberties of the British people for a long time to come,” Johnson said. “This government does not believe that this is right or necessary. Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental well-being and on the life chances of our children, and we do not need to pay that heavy cost any longer.”
Johnson cited “high levels of immunity” and that deaths are below where public health “normally expects” for this time of year as the primary reasons for loosening restrictions.
COVID-19 changes in the UK:
- As of February 21: The government will drop guidance for staff and students in most schools to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic testing
- As of February 24: People who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate
- As of April 1: Free mass testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic people will end
- People with COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to exercise “personal responsibility” when deciding whether to stay at home
Johnson said, “targeted vaccines and treatments” will remain in place for England’s most vulnerable and to “guard against a possible resurgence of the virus.”
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 21, 2022
He added England’s scientists have advised there was “considerable uncertainty about the future path of the pandemic,” warning there could be “significant resurgences” of COVID-19 and/or variations in the future.