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Thursday, December 08, 2022

What are the remaining Covid rules and guidance in the UK

Last week, the Prime Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, announced changes to Covid rules in Wales. With coronavirus cases increasing in Wales due to the BA.2 variant, the Welsh Government has decided not to proceed with the plan that Mr. Drakeford had previously announced to end all remaining restrictions from Monday 28 March.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the UK – rules are different. In England, the British government ended all remaining domestic coronavirus restrictions in February. In Scotland, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that some Covid rules will remain in place, while in Northern Ireland legal requirements are now in place. Here’s all you need to know about the Covid rules and guidance in different parts of the UK. You can stay up to date with the latest Covid news by subscribing to our coronavirus daily newsletter.

Read more: The number of children who miss school due to Covid reasons is increasing rapidly

Wallis



1 Wales Moves To Covid Alert Level Zero For All Outdoor Activities
Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has lifted several legal requirements, such as the rules on self-isolation in Wales

Monday has the legal requirement to isolate yourself if you have Covid ended, but it is still “strongly advised”. Mask wearing will no longer be law in certain places.

Relieving certain Covid restrictions means:

  • People will no longer have to wear masks in shops or on public transportation.
  • Masks will still be needed in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  • The legal requirement to isolate oneself is scrapped, instead people will be ‘strongly advised’ to stay indoors if they test positive.
  • Self-isolation support payments of £ 500 will still be available until June.
  • Workplaces and premises open to the public should continue to conduct coronavirus risk assessments.

Major changes to Covid tests in Wales are being introduced this week. The changes will mean that people will no longer be able to book a PCR test from Wednesday and all sites will start closing. People will also no longer be able to get free LFT tests unless they have symptoms. You can read more about it here.

New changes mean:

  • Wednesday, March 30, will be the last day the public will be able to book a PCR test if they have symptoms.
  • From Thursday 31 March, all PCR test sites in Wales will close.
  • Free lateral flow tests to support regular asymptomatic testing in workplaces end on Thursday, March 31, except for health and social care workers.
  • Free lateral flow tests for the public for regular asymptomatic tests end on Thursday, March 31st.

This means that the two key legal protection rules that will remain in place for the time being in Wales are face coverings that remain a legal requirement in health and social care environments, and coronavirus risk assessments will still be carried out by companies, put in place with reasonable measures .

England



Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson launches ‘Living with Covid’ plan in England

Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the next steps for England regarding life with Covid. Vaccines remain the “first line of defense” against the virus, with further reinforcements this spring for the most vulnerable, after all remaining domestic restrictions in England ended in February.

These changes include:

  • You are not legally obligated to isolate yourself if you test positive for Covid-19. It is recommended that you stay home if you can and avoid contact with other people for at least five full days and then continue to follow the guidance until you receive two negative test results on consecutive days.
  • You do not have to take daily tests or be legally required to isolate yourself after contacting someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The test and track support payment scheme in England has now been terminated. If you were told to isolate yourself before 24 February, you can apply for the scheme until 6 April.

Rules on testing have also changed in England:

  • Routine contact tracking has been terminated, including venue entries on the NHS Covid-19 application.
  • Adults who have been fully vaccinated and those under the age of 18 who are in close contact are no longer advised to be tested daily for seven days and the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to isolate themselves will be be removed.
  • From April 1, free mass testing will stop. People will no longer need to have a voluntary Covid status certification in domestic environments or use the NHS Covid Pass in certain locations.

Scotland



2 Coronavirus Tue Feb 22 2022
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has postponed plans to ease some Covid restrictions in Scotland

This month, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland will extend Covid rules on wearing face masks due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus.

Measures that will still be required include:

  • Wearing a face mask in most indoor public places, such as in shops, restaurants and public transport, is still in place until April.
  • Businesses and workplaces continue to take the lead in reducing the risk of Covid transmission.
  • Self-isolation rules in Scotland advise people to self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test if you have symptoms.
  • If you tested positive, you should isolate yourself for 10 days, but you can leave self-isolation on day seven if you have two negative LFT test results in a row from day six and do not have a high temperature.
  • These guidelines apply regardless of age, vaccination status, or previous infections.

However, Ms Sturgeon also revealed that some legal measures will be lifted and replaced with appropriate guidance from Monday, March 21st.

The mitigation of restrictions, as well as changes after testing, include:

  • End the requirement on businesses and service providers to retain customers’ contact details.
  • The requirement for businesses, places of worship and service providers to take into account the Scottish Government’s guidance on Covid, and to take reasonably feasible measures set out in the guidelines, will also be waived.

  • After April 18, people without symptoms will no longer be advised to use an LFT twice a week, but with the exception of health and care facilities. Advice to test regularly for workplaces also ends from April 18, as well as for schools, universities and colleges.

  • People with symptoms will be advised to continue taking PCR tests until the end of April. PCR test sites will remain open during this period. Physical testing sites will close at the end of April, although mobile testing units and laboratory capacity will be retained for long-term testing purposes.

  • From 1 May, instead of a population-wide approach, tests will be conducted on a targeted basis to support clinical care and treatment and protect higher risk institutions, and for surveillance, outbreak management and to respond to significant developments such as’ a new variant.

Northern Ireland



2 Titanic Belfast Hosts Covid 19 Vaccination Site
Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has revealed that the NI government is considering the implications of England’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan for the state.

Since February, Covid rules have now been leading in Northern Ireland. This means that although people are encouraged to follow restrictions, they will not be punished for not doing so.

Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, said the government was “carefully considering” the Living with Covid plan in England and what implications it would have on the state.

However, changes have been made to certain restrictions, such as:

  • The use of face covering is “highly recommended” in all indoor environments including healthcare facilities.

  • Hospitality and entertainment venues will continue to be strongly encouraged to use Covid Pass.

  • Social distancing is still encouraged, as well as meeting outdoors rather than indoors where possible.

  • Risk assessments in the workplace will no longer be required.

Some rules will remain the same, such as:

  • If you have Covid-19 symptoms or test positive, you should isolate yourself for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. Your self-isolation period may end earlier than day six if two consecutive lateral flow tests, 24 hours apart, show negative, with the first of these not taken earlier than day five.

  • The test and contact tracing system will also remain in place in Northern Ireland.

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