What are the UK’s ‘Living with Covid’ plans?

What are the UK’s ‘Living with Covid’ plans?

Further coronavirus measures in Scotland have been dropped, with all remaining legal restrictions set to end on 21 March.In England, all remaining legal restrictions have already been removed as part of the prime minister’s “Living with Covid” plan.Measures are also easing in Wales and Northern Ireland. How are the rules changing in Scotland?Scotland’s Covid certification…

Further coronavirus measures in Scotland have been dropped, with all remaining legal restrictions set to end on 21 March.

In England, all remaining legal restrictions have already been removed as part of the prime minister’s “Living with Covid” plan.

Measures are also easing in Wales and Northern Ireland.

How are the rules changing in Scotland?

Scotland’s Covid certification scheme ended on Monday, 28 February, although businesses and venues can still keep using it if they want

Secondary-school pupils no longer need to wear masks in the classroom – but they are still required in corridors.

  • masks will no longer be legally required on public transport and indoor venues (although their use will still be “strongly recommended”
  • businesses, places of worship and service providers will no longer have to follow government guidance on measures to avoid Covid
  • there will be no requirement for businesses and service providers to keep customer contact details

Ms Sturgeon said that – unlike in England – there was no plan to scrap the requirement to self-isolate for people who tested positive.

The Scottish government will set out in March how free PCR and lateral flow tests will be allocated.

The current restrictions include:

  • shops and businesses need to take measures to limit the spread of Covid
  • face coverings are compulsory on public transport and most indoor spaces, including shops and secondary schools
  • a Covid certification scheme remains in place for venues including nightclubs, meaning people must provide proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test
  • A 2m distancing rule remains in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and dentists

How are the rules changing in England?

The government has set out its “Living with Covid” plan.

  • people with Covid are not legally required to self-isolate
  • however, guidance recommends that those who test positive stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days
  • self-isolation support payments of £500 for those on low incomes have stopped
  • routine contact tracing has ended – people in contact with someone with Covid will no longer be advised to self-isolate or take daily tests
  • workers are not required to tell their employer if they need to self-isolate
  • face coverings are not mandatory on Transport for London’s tubes, trains or buses, but they are still “strongly encouraged”
  • PCR and lateral flow Covid tests will no longer be free for most people
  • Covid passports will no longer be recommended, except for international travel
  • employers will no longer have to consider Covid as a separate risk when working out how to keep employees safe

Over-75s and people with a weakened immune system are also being offered an extra Covid booster jab this spring, six months after their previous dose.

The chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has warned that Covid will continue to evolve over the next few years. He said that further variants of Covid were expected – and that they could be more severe than those previously seen.

Therefore, although most of the free testing system is being dismantled in England, the government insists that the UK will continue to do detailed checks and surveillance to look for resurgences of Covid and any concerning new variants which emerge.

It says it will also be possible to scale up testing and tracing operations again, if needed.

How are the rules changing in Wales?

Nightclubs have reopened, social distancing rules have been lifted and limits on socialising in pubs and restaurants – known as the rule of six – have been removed. The legal requirement to work from home has also ended.

Some measures remain in place:

  • compulsory face coverings in schools, on public transport and in shops and hospitals
  • secondary school pupils are asked to test for Covid three times a week

How are the rules changing in Northern Ireland?

Covid certificates for nightclubs, mandatory face coverings, track and trace requirements and the cap on 30 people in private homes are no longer legal requirements.

Legal measures have been replaced by guidance, which recommends that face masks are still worn in certain public settings.

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