The UK’s ‘Plan B’ regulations will fall away on Wednesday (January 26) after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of all COVID measures in England. These changes apply only to England, due to health policy being a devolved matter.
Mandatory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops and other public areas will end on that date and the government will stop advising people to work from home from next week too. People in England will also not have to carry vaccination certificates or recent negative test certificates to gain access to certain venues from next week.
The legal requirement for self-isolation for those with positive tests will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24, and that date could be brought forward.
From today, January 20, pupils are no longer obliged to wear masks at secondary schools but teaching unions and health workers have expressed concern about this rule.
On the topic of facemasks, Johnson said: “In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
This new view of pandemic management goes hand in hand with new regulations for travellers entering England, which are expected to kick in on January 26. All indicators point to vaccinated travellers not being subjected to a testing regime after arrival in the country, with the only requirement being filling in the online Passenger Locator Form before travel. See here.