The Prime Minister is expected to announce he will repeat all pandemic regulations in England when he presents his Living with Covid plan on Monday.
It’s expected that Boris Johnson will put the onus on individuals to be responsible as he scraps all self-isolation, the Mirror reports
He has said we shouldn’t throw caution to the wind, and that we need to remain careful, but the state will be rolled back in favor of personal responsibility.
The announcement is due to come the day after it was confirmed The Queen has tested positive for Covid-19.
Self-isolation laws scrapped
Legal Covid self-isolation is due to be scrapped – even if you currently have the virus – from as soon as Thursday, February 24.
Despite scrapping legal isolation, No10 said: “We’re not saying isolation is pointless. We’d expect anyone with an infectious disease to take steps not to spread that disease further – a colleague at work with flu, for example.”
At the moment, people who test positive must go into self-isolation for at least five full days in England, a period that has been repeatedly cut from 10 days and seven days.
£500 self-isolation payment
The £500 self-isolation payment for less well off workers with Covid could end as the legal requirement to quarantine is scrapped.
The Test and Trace Support Payment was introduced in September 2020 to help low-wage workers afford to self-isolate for up to 14 days.
No final decisions have been announced yet over the future of the £500 payment, and its status was being considered by the government last week.
Lateral flow tests
Boris Johnson’s plan is expected to set a timetable for the end of free lateral flow tests, with people having to pay instead.
The government warned last summer it would eventually stop paying for these rapid tests due to the huge cost of the NHS.
It’s not known how much lateral flow tests will cost, but estimates have put it at £30 for a pack of seven.
The government warned last summer it would eventually stop paying for rapid lateral flow tests
PCR tests and Test and Trace
It’s thought the plan may contain a date for ending free ‘gold standard’ PCR tests as England’s Covid infrastructure is wound down.
Whitehall sources told the Guardian the Treasury is trying to cut the £15bn-a-year cost, which will mean having to phase out free testing and all but ending the contact-tracing system.
Scientists have raised the alarm about ending these free tests, with reports suggesting they could cost £100 each privately.
According to reports, only health and social care workers and 1.3million vulnerable people will continue to get free PCRs.
Covid travel Passenger Locator Forms
Fully-vaccinated people entering the UK do not need to take any Covid tests, under changes that happened on February 11.
But they still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form – albeit a ‘simplified’ one – and further changes to this are possible in this week’s Covid plan.
It’s understood the Department for Transport was pressing to further simplify the Passenger Locator Form – or get rid of it completely.
It is thought there was only a slim chance of the form being axed altogether, as health officials were still worried about needing to track new variants coming in to the UK.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated people still need to take one pre-departure test and one post-arrival test before entering the UK. It’s understood this rule will stay for the foreseeable future and no changes to it are due this week.
The jump in the cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and eating.
Here are some resources available if you need help.
Citizens Advice is an independent charity offering free, confidential support with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other problems. its site details what help is available and where your nearest bureau is, for face-to-face advice.
Help line: 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a national network of more than 1,200 food banks, providing emergency food for free to those who need it. You can use it site to locate support wherever you live.
Helpline: 0808 208 2138 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people who are struggling financially. its site includes a benefits calculator and details of schemes and grants in your area, including for energy and water bills.
Helpline: 0808 802 2000 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Fears Statutory Sick Pay will be stripped back
Boris Johnson has been weighing up whether to scrap sick pay from day one of Covid illness, the Mirror understands.
£96.35-a-week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is usually only available from the fourth day of any illness, after three ‘waiting days’ are complete.
This was cut to the first day in 2020 for people isolating due to Covid. Ministers said the move was “vital” to ensure people get help and follow the rules.
But the power is contained in the Coronavirus Act, which is currently due to expire on March 24.
That means it could be removed, even though No10 has advised people who are sick with the virus to stay away from work.
Vaccines for all children over five
All children over five will be able to get vaccinated against Covid-19 from April.
The “non-urgent offer” to the parents of nearly six million 5-11 year olds was confirmed by the Government moments after advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI).
Two smaller doses of the Pfizer jab, 12 weeks apart, will be available to this age group to help control future Covid waves after Covid curbs have been lifted.
It is understood there are no plans for a major publicity drive to encourage this age group to be vaccinated and it will be left very much up to parents to decide.
All children over 12 have been able to get the Pfizer Covid jab since September last year.
Currently, only the most vulnerable kids aged 5 to 11 are eligible. They are offered two jabs but at a lower dose than for adults – 10 micrograms instead of 30.