How are Covid restrictions different across the UK moving into the new year?

·4-min read

As New Year’s Eve approaches, further changes are being made to coronavirus measures in different UK nations.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland have announced a cut to self-isolation rules, the same as has been introduced in England.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Covid-19 measures currently compare in the different UK nations.

– What is Northern Ireland doing?

On Thursday, it was announced the self-isolation period for confirmed Covid-19 cases will be reduced in Northern Ireland from 10 days to seven in line with England.

The new rule will be subject to negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven, will apply retrospectively and take effect from Friday.

It has already been announced that nightclubs will be closed on New Year’s Eve, while dancing will also be prohibited in hospitality venues.

Wedding rings are not affected (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Weddings are not affected (Anthony Devlin/PA)

This will not apply to weddings.

People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers will be limited to six.

Ministers have also agreed that sporting events can continue with no limits on capacity, while the work-from-home message is being bolstered and legislation introduced to require social distancing in offices and similar workplaces.

The guidance is for mixing in a domestic setting to be limited to three households.

First Minister Paul Givan said on Thursday following a virtual meeting of the Stormont Executive that no further restrictions would be introduced at this time, but that the Executive would continue to assess the data as more information emerged.

– What are the rules in Wales?

The Welsh Government also announced on Thursday that the mandatory isolation period for people who test positive with Covid-19 from 10 days to seven, subject to two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

Initially the new rule was to be introduced on January 5, but it will now come into force on Friday.

Current rules in Wales state groups of no more than six people are allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants.

Licensed premises can offer table service only, face masks will have to be worn and contact tracing details collected, and two-metre social distancing rules are in place.

A package of seven NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 self-testing kits (Zoe Linkson/PA)
A package of seven NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 self-testing kits (Zoe Linkson/PA)

Nightclubs have been closed since Boxing Day and there is a requirement to work from home wherever possible.

A maximum of 30 people can attend indoor events and a maximum of 50 people at outdoor events.

People attending weddings or civil partnership receptions or wakes are also being told to take a lateral flow test before attending.

– What is the situation in Scotland?

Events have one-metre social distancing and are limited to 100 people standing indoors, 200 people sitting indoors and 500 people outdoors.

One-metre physical distancing is in place in all indoor hospitality and leisure settings.

Table service is also required where alcohol is being served.

Homeworking is expected under current rules (Joe Giddens/PA)
Homeworking is expected under current rules (Joe Giddens/PA)

Since December 14, people have been asked to reduce their social contact as much as possible by meeting in groups of no more than three households.

Allowing staff to work from home where possible has become a legal duty on employers.

Care home visits have also been limited to two households.

– What is happening in England?

On Monday, it was announced that no further coronavirus restrictions would be imposed in England until the new year, meaning the country has the most relaxed rules in the UK.

However, Covid passes for entry into nightclubs and other venues have been in place as of December 15.

This applies to indoor events with 500 or more attendees where people are likely to stand or move around, such as music venues, certain outdoor events, such as music festivals, and any events with 10,000 or more attendees.

Passengers wearing masks travelling via Waterloo station in London (James Manning/PA)
Passengers wearing masks travelling via Waterloo station in London (James Manning/PA)

Face coverings have also been made compulsory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport, and people have been told to work from home if they can.

If a person in England has tested positive or has symptoms, they can stop self-isolating after seven days instead of 10 days if they receive two negative lateral flow test results on days six and seven.

Those who are unvaccinated close contacts of positive cases must still isolate for 10 days.

England’s guidance is that people should work from home if they can.

Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go in to work but is encouraged to consider taking lateral flow tests regularly.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting