England are due to exit their current ‘plan B’ status from January 26 as data on Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to improve. Some changes will come into effect before this date.

The changes, announced by Prime Minister Boris John in the House of Commons today, only apply in England, as coronavirus measures are a devolved matter, with separate decisions taken in Scotland, the Land of Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England, the changes include:

  • with immediate effect the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about how to return to the office
  • From next Thursday, January 27, compulsory certification will end, meaning there will be no requirement to present a Covid pass or a negative test to enter places such as nightclubs or clubs. sports stadiums. But the government says organizations can choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily
  • also from next Thursday it will no longer be compulsory to wear face masks in public, although their use is suggested in enclosed or confined spaces
  • Starting tomorrow January 20, children will no longer be required to wear face masks in classrooms. The Ministry of Education will soon remove national guidelines on their use in common areas
  • an announcement on the easing of restrictions on care home visits will be made in the coming days.

The requirement that people who test positive for Covid must self-isolate will remain. On Monday, the self-isolation period was reduced to five days for those who test negative on days five and six.

However, Mr Johnson told the House he hoped self-isolation requirements would end soon: ‘As Covid becomes rampant, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance urging people with the virus to be cautious and considerate. others.

“The self-isolation rules expire on March 24, when I really expect not to renew them. Indeed, data permitting, I would like to seek a vote in this House to bring that date forward.

Explaining the abandonment of Plan B, Mr Johnson said: ‘Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationwide.

“There remain significant pressures on the NHS across our country, and in particular in the North East and North West. But hospital admissions, which were doubling every 9 days just two weeks ago, have now leveled off, with London admissions even falling.

“And the numbers in intensive care not only remain low, but are also falling.”

The Prime Minister urged people to use common sense when responding to the threat of coronavirus and, if necessary, to receive a wake-up call.

  • There are reports the government will also remove the requirement for fully vaccinated travelers to take a Covid test within two days of returning to England when other rules are relaxed next week. This remains to be confirmed, but it is expected that unvaccinated travelers will still need to take tests before leaving for the UK and self-isolate and take further tests on their return.