England’s new plan for ‘living with Covid’

England’s new ‘living with Covid’ plan involves ending mandatory self-isolation requirements along with the other restrictions.

The government has introduced a plan for ‘living with COVID-19’.

To illustrate the practicality of the proposed strategy, the release stated, ‘The Government’s objective in the next phase of the COVID-19 response is to enable the country to manage COVID-19 like other respiratory illnesses, while minimising mortality and retaining the ability to respond if a new variant emerges with more dangerous properties than the Omicron variant, or during periods of waning immunity, that could again threaten to place the NHS under unsustainable pressure.’

A Happy Family Living with Covid

England’s ‘living with Covid’ plan

In the past several weeks, one Covid restriction after another has been scrapped. Going forward, to facilitate ‘living with Covid’, the government’s plan comprises the removal of the restrictions that still remain.

In effect starting 21 February:

  • Students and people working in nearly all childcare and education settings will not be required to take two tests a week unless they exhibit symptoms

In effect starting 24 February:

  • Mandatory quarantine requirements for people infected with Covid will be dropped
  • The guidance will continue for individuals who tested positive to remain at home for a full 5 days, during which to stay away from others
  • The £500 quarantine support payments for low-income individuals will be dropped
  • Contact tracing will be dropped. People coming in contact with individuals infected with Covid will not be instructed to enter quarantine nor take Covid tests daily
  • It will no longer be mandatory for employees to inform their workplace if they need to enter quarantine

In effect starting 1 April:

  • Free Covid tests will be made unavailable for most people
  • Covid pass use will no longer be advised except for international travel use
  • Workplaces need no longer regard Covid as a separate safety risk for employees
Three People Riding Bicycles

Although PM Boris Johnson stated that the country was ready to ‘transition back towards normality’, he also said at the Downing Street conference, ‘today is not the day we can declare victory over Covid because this virus is not going away.’

The PM also assured that the contingencies were being preserved in case Covid makes a comeback or a new variant emerges.

Prof Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, stated, ‘This is not a sudden “everything stops”.’

He pointed out that the withdrawal of Covid restrictions came as a ‘gradual, steady change over a period of time’.

Sir Patrick Vallance cautioned that the Covid virus will keep on evolving in the coming years and that some of the imminent Covid variants have the potential to be more serious than Omicron. He said that the UK should maintain the means to ‘ramp up’ safety measures swiftly if the need arises.

Sir Patrick Vallance is the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.

England’s current foreign travel rules

Man with Covid Document on Smartphone

The rules that apply to travellers coming to England are now heavily reliant on their vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated travellers

Travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated in accordance with the government’s guidance are not required to take Covid tests before travelling to England nor after arrival in England.

Fully vaccinated passengers coming to England need only fill in the online passenger locator form 48 hours before arrival.

Unvaccinated travellers

If a traveller coming to England does not qualify as fully jabbed, they must:

  • Take a pre-departure Covid test 2 days before travelling
  • Take a PCR test on Day 2 of arrival in England (the Day 2 PCR test must be booked in advance)
  • Fill up the online passenger locator form 48 hours prior to arrival in the UK

Unvaccinated travellers are not required to enter self-isolation on reaching England. However, they must enter quarantine if the Day 2 PCR test returns a positive result.

Buy your ‘Return to UK’ Antigen Test today Book your in-clinic Day 2 PCR test Purchase your Day 2 PCR test kit

Read more: Day 2 PCR tests for unvaccinated travellers

Travelling abroad from the UK

While England’s rules for foreign travel have been considerably relaxed recently, the same cannot be said for all the other countries around the world.

While many countries now have less severe Covid policies for fully vaccinated visitors, the majority of travel destinations around the world still require incoming passengers to still take pre-departure tests.

We strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the entry requirements of your destination country well in advance of travelling. The latest information can be found on the foreign travel advice page on the government’s website.

Order your Fit to Fly PCR test today Book an in-clinic Fit to Fly PCR test appointment Order your Fit to Fly Lateral Flow test today Book an in-clinic Fit to Fly Lateral Flow test appointment

Read more:

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58 Countries that permit travellers to use antigen tests