Feb 222022

living_with_covidLiving with COVID plan: Key dates – what’s changing in England?

The government has published its plan for living with COVID-19.

From Monday 21 February:
  • guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing is dropped
From Thursday 24 February:
  • people who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate, but will still be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days
  • routine contact tracing will end, so fully-vaccinated close contacts and those under 18 years old will no longer be legally required to test daily for seven days or advised to self-isolate
  • workers will no longer be required to tell their employer if they need to self-isolate
  • the £500 self-isolation support payment for people on low incomes who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be available
  • COVID-19 provisions for increased statutory sick pay will apply for a further month
From Friday 1 April:
  • free mass symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for the general public will end, and will instead be targeted towards the most vulnerable
  • people with COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to exercise personal responsibility when deciding whether to stay at home – until then they are still advised to do so
  • current government guidance on COVID-19 passports will end and it will no longer recommend venues use the NHS COVID Pass

This plan is for England only. Restrictions remain in place in other parts of the UK.

Look out for each other,’ urges Devon’s Director of Public Health

Public Health experts are appealing to the public to ‘continue looking out for each other’, by being cautious and following coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance over the next few months.

The Director of Public Health, Steve Brown, made his comments following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the legal requirement for people with coronavirus to self-isolate is to be removed this week. Changes were also announced bringing an end to the mass availability of COVID-19 testing for people with or without symptoms.

Steve Brown said:

“It is vital that people continue to look out for each other, and do all they can to reduce risk, especially to those who are more vulnerable.

“That means being respectful of other people’s concerns and personal situations.

“The public health advice is that anyone who tests positive for coronavirus, or who shows symptoms of having it, including a high temperature or cough, should stay at home and avoid contact with others. The same can be said for any other infectious illness, such a flu, or vomiting and diarrhoea.

“We need to get to a place whereby it’s commonly accepted that when someone’s not well and there’s risk of spreading that virus, that they stay home to reduce the risk of transmission to others.”

Meanwhile, groups that champion and support the needs of vulnerable people have spoken out in concern about the removal of COVID-19 restrictions.

Diana Crump, CEO of Living Options Devon, said:

“We are hearing from people who we support that they’re worried what the removal of the self-isolating legislation will mean for them.

“The concern is that without the legal requirement, many people who have coronavirus, knowingly or not, will be out and about, and the airborne nature of the virus means infection and spread is very likely.”