Boris Johnson announces end of all Covid restrictions and free testing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the easing of Covid Plan B restrictions.

Boris Johnson has announced the end of all Covid restrictions as part of England's living with Covid plan. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced that all remaining coronavirus restrictions will end in England. 

The prime minister said England will move away from government restrictions and will rely on personal responsibility as part of the country's living with Covid plan.

From Thursday, February 24, the legal requirement for individuals to self-isolate after a positive test will end.

Self-isolation support payments will also end.

Routine contact tracing will end as well - people in contact with someone who tested positive will no longer be advised to isolate or take daily tests.

From today, staff and students in most education and childcare settings will also no longer have to test twice weekly.

Free Covid testing will end for the general public in England from April 1.

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Mr Johnson said: "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."

The government will continue to provide free tests for symptomatic people in the oldest age groups and those most vulnerable.

Mr Johnson 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."

Use of Covid passports will no longer be recommended from April 1, meaning some venues may no longer ask for proof of vaccination status of a recent negative test result.

Covid passports will still be needed for international travel.

Boris Johnson's announcement to end all legal restrictions applies to England only.

Restrictions remain in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.