On the 21 February 2022, the Prime Minister gave a press conference and announced wide-ranging changes to the regulations introduced to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
Government seems concerned that we learn to live with continuing COVID-19 infections without the past restrictions to our social mobility and ability to run our businesses and earn a living.
“… while the pandemic is not over, we have passed the peak of the Omicron wave, with cases falling, and hospitalisations in England now fewer than 10,000 and still falling, and so now we have the chance to complete that transition back towards normality, while maintaining the contingencies to respond to a resurgence or a new variant.
“As we have done throughout the past two years, we will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations as they decide how to take forwards their own plans.
“In England, we will remove all remaining domestic restrictions in law.”
He confirmed that, in England:
“From this Thursday, it will no longer be law to self-isolate if you test positive, and so we will also end the provision of self-isolation support payments, although Statutory Sick Pay can still be claimed for a further month.
“If you’re a fully vaccinated close contact or under 18 you will no longer be asked to test daily for seven days. And if you are close contact who is not fully vaccinated you will no longer be required to self-isolate.
“Until 1 April, we will still advise you to stay at home if you test positive. And from 1st April, we will end free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public.
“But we will continue providing free symptomatic tests to those at the highest risk from Covid. And in line with the practice of many other countries, we are working with retailers to ensure you will always be able to buy a test.”
Only time will tell if these changes prove to be appropriate, but there does seem to be a general feeling that we have taken a step closer to normality.