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People in England will no longer be legally required to isolate after testing positive with Covid from Thursday.
Boris Johnson set out the new rules as he unveiled the Government’s living with Covid plan on Monday in an address in the Commons.
What are the new rules?
People who test positive for Covid will no longer be legally required to isolate from Thursday February 24.
Boris Johnson told MPs: “First, we will remove all remaining domestic restrictions in law.
“From this Thursday February 24, we will end the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test and so we will also end self-isolation support payments, although Covid provisions for statutory sick pay can still be claimed for a further month.
“We will end routine contact tracing and no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those under 18 to test daily for seven days.”
What advice is there for people who test positive with Covid?
Those who test positive with Covid will be advised to stay at home until April 1.
After April 1, the Prime Minister said people should take “personal responsibility” and to be considerate towards others.
Boris Johnson told MPs: “Until April 1 we will still advise people who test positive to stay at home but after that we will encourage people with Covid-19 symptoms to exercise personal responsibility, just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others.”
He added: “It’s only because levels of immunity are so high and deaths are now if anything below where you would normally expect for this time of year that we can lift these restrictions and it’s only because we know Omicron is less severe that testing for Omicron on the colossal scale we’ve been doing is much less important and much less valuable in preventing serious illness.
The “biggest testing programme per person of any large country in the world”, he said “came at vast cost”, adding: “The test, trace and isolation budget in 2020/21 exceeded the entire budget of the Home Office. It cost a further £15.7 billion in this financial year and £2 billion in January alone at the height of the Omicron wave.”
What were the old self-isolation rules?
People without Covid symptoms who returned a positive lateral flow test will no longer needed a confirmatory PCR test.
The measures came into effect on January 11.
Those who return a positive result will still need to isolate immediately for up to ten days - reduced to five if they return negative results on day 5 and 6 of their period of isolation.
The UKHSA say that while infection levels are high, the “vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have Covid-19”.
Those who do experience symptoms must still take a PCR test.