Politics

All Covid measures 'could be ditched in spring as free tests and isolation axed'


Officials are said to be working on a blueprint on how to phase out the existing restrictions as the Omicron wave recedes

People who flout self-isolation rules can be slapped with hefty fines
People who flout self-isolation rules can be slapped with hefty fines

Mandatory isolation for people with Covid could be axed by the Spring under plans to ditch the remaining rules.

Officials are said to be working on a blueprint on how to phase out the existing restrictions as the Omicron wave appears to be starting to recede.

Embattled Boris Johnson is expected to confirm today that Plan B restrictions will be ripped up as he scrambles to save his premiership.

Work-from-home guidance and Covid passes for nightclubs are expected to go on January 26, though insiders have suggested that face mask rules for shops and public transport could stay.

The Cabinet is meeting to discuss the latest Covid data, with a statement from the Prime Minister expected on Plan B this afternoon.







Boris Johnson is battling to save his premiership after a slew of damaging allegations about lockdown-flouting parties
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Image:

REUTERS)

No decision has been taken but Mr Johnson’s authority has been battered by a row over Downing Street parties.

Work is also understood to be underway on whether to scrap remaining emergency Covid laws due to expire in March, such as rules forcing people with the virus to isolate.

Anyone who flouts this law can be fined up to £10,000.

Other powers on the statute book include the requirement to provide details of your address to NHS Test and Trace.

Free lateral flow provision could also be axed – a step which was first mooted in the Government’s Covid Winter Plan, published back in September.

However Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi recently insisted that this won’t happen immediately.

Large-scale PCR testing could also be scaled back, which ministers are said to be concerned is not financially sustainable in the long run.

A source told the Mirror: “The focus at the moment is obviously what to do with Plan B (coming out of it safely) but we’ll of course then start to look at what the next few months look like.”







Free lateral flow provision could also be axed
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In Pictures via Getty Images)

Last night, a Government spokesperson said: “Decisions on the next steps remain finely balanced.

“Plan B was implemented in December to slow the rapid spread of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, and get more jabs in arms.

“It’s thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the NHS and many dedicated volunteers that we have now delivered over 36 million boosters to people across the UK.

“The Omicron variant continues to pose a significant threat and the pandemic is not over.

“Infections remain high but the latest data is encouraging, with cases beginning to fall. Vaccines remain our best line of defence and we urge people to come forward, to give themselves the best possible protection.”

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