When are changes to Covid rules expected across the UK’s four nations?

·4-min read

England looks set to enjoy “freedom day” on July 19 with the scrapping of coronavirus restrictions.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at when changes are expected across the UK’s four nations.

– What is the near future looking like in England?

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The Government will make a final decision on July 12 about lifting all restrictions from July 19.

If that goes ahead, the approach will be people making “their own informed decisions” rather than being governed by legal restrictions, Boris Johnson said.

All legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be scrapped and all businesses will reopen, including nightclubs.

People can attend concerts, theatre and sports events and the one-metre-plus rule on social distancing will end.

A legal obligation to wear a face covering will also be removed, but Mr Johnson said guidance will suggest where people might choose to continue wearing a mask such as on crowded public transport.

The instruction to work from home will be scrapped and the limit on named visitors to care homes will be lifted.

Covid certificates will not be required as a condition of entry to any venue or event.

Changes are also expected to rules around isolation for fully vaccinated people who are contacts of those who test positive for the virus, and there will be more details on changes to bubbles and contact isolation for school pupils.

Changes to isolation rules for double-jabbed arrivals returning to the UK from amber list countries are also expected.

– What about in Wales?

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Welsh health minister Baroness Eluned Morgan said the Welsh Government’s position will be announced on July 14.

But ministers have insisted they will not be rushed into a decision about scrapping restrictions.

Baroness Morgan said the Welsh Government will be “following the data rather than following the politics” when it considers whether rules can be eased over the next few weeks.

First Minister Mark Drakeford reminded people that changes announced by Mr Johnson “will apply to England only”.

He tweeted: “I’ll set out any changes for Wales next week based on the latest scientific data.

“Until then, we’ll continue our amazing vaccination programme that’s already fully vaccinated 2/3 of adults in Wales.”

– What is the situation in Scotland?

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The aim in Scotland is to lift most restrictions by August 9.

It is also hoped the whole of Scotland can be placed into its lowest level of restrictions – Level 0 – on July 19.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that if vaccination milestones and other criteria are met, the majority of restrictions could be lifted by August 9.

– And Northern Ireland?

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The Stormont Executive is set to review progress on the Pathway out of Restrictions plan at its meeting on Thursday, and consider the sequencing of further relaxations.

Live music was given the green light to return from July 5 – in a move welcomed by the hospitality sector – and the number of households permitted to meet outdoors at private dwellings increased from three to five, with the maximum number of people remaining at 15.

On Monday chief medical officer Sir Michael McBride said the country had entered a fourth wave and warned cases will increase rapidly as he urged people to keep following public health advice and take up the offer of a vaccine.

He said the wearing of face coverings has reduced transmission of the virus, and will continue to do so, but added that as more people are protected by the vaccine it will be for ministers to look at different interventions and “the necessity for them”.

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