Last reviewed 22 February 2022

People with Covid-19 symptoms will be encouraged to exercise personal responsibility, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, after all legal restrictions in England are lifted on Thursday 24 February.

“Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental wellbeing, and the life chances of our children,” he said. “And we do not need to pay that cost any longer.”

This will mean an end to the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test which in turn means that the Government will stop self-isolation support payments, although Covid provisions for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can still be claimed for a further month.

In addition, Mr Johnson went on, the provision of free rapid testing would, from 1 April, be targeted to certain sections of the population. Routine contact tracing will stop and fully vaccinated close contacts and those under 18 will no longer be asked to test daily for seven days.

With immediate effect, the Government will remove the guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing.

“Until 1 April, we will still advise people who test positive to stay at home,” the Prime Minister said. “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.”

From 1 April, he continued, the Government will no longer recommend the use of voluntary Covid-status certification, although the NHS app will continue to allow people to indicate their vaccination status for international travel.

As part of a plan to continue to protect the most vulnerable with targeted vaccines and treatments, the Government will guard against a possible resurgence of the virus by accepting JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) advice to provide a new Spring booster for those aged 75 and above, older care home residents and those over 12 who are immunosuppressed.

Changes in legislation

The Government intends to expire all temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act.

Of the original 40, 20 have already expired, 16 will expire on 24 March, and the last four, relating to innovations in public service, will expire six months later, after those improvements have been made permanent via other means.