Boris Johnson has announced the government wants to end all domestic Covid restrictions in England, including the legal requirement to self-isolate, a month earlier than planned.
The prime minister told MPs: “Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – a full month early.”
He said he would present the government’s “Living With Covid” strategy when the Commons returns from its recess on February 21.
“It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with Covid,” the prime minister said.
Under the current rules, individuals who test positive for the virus are ordered to self-isolate for at least five days and can face considerable fines for non-compliance.
Regulations mandating people to wear face masks in certain settings and guidance to work from home to contain the spread of the virus, however, ended in January.
Last month, Johnson told the Commons that the government would replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, saying he expected “not to renew” the self-isolation rules after they expire on 24 March.
The move to bring forward the date by a month will inevitably be viewed as an attempt to bolster his support among Conservative MPs, and was immediately welcomed by the former Brexit secretary Lord David Frost.
“The PM’s plan to end all Covid restrictions a month early is the right thing do & is extremely welcome. I hope the government will also make clear we will not go down the road of coercive lockdowns ever again”.