BORIS Johnson has announced all remaining Covid rules will be scrapped by the end of the month as Britain looks to move on from the pandemic.
The PM said he’s bringing forward the ditching of the final restrictions by a month, meaning they could all be gone from as early as February 24.
It means the legal requirement for Brits who catch the virus to self-isolate, with fines for non-compliance, will come to an end.
His declaration at the start of today’s PMQs took MPs by surprise, and comes with cases of Omicron across the UK continuing to plunge.
New infections have collapsed by 41% in the space of a week and stood at 66,183 yesterday.
Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, the PM announced he will unveil his full plan to “live with Covid” on Monday February 21.
He said: “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.”
Boris is bringing forward the timetable for ending curbs by a whole month. They were due to legally elapse anyway on March 24.
The changes will only apply to England because Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland set their own Covid policies.
His announcement was welcomed by senior Tories, including ex Brexit negotiator Lord Frost who is popular amongst backbenchers.
He said: “The PM’s plan to end all Covid restrictions a month early is the right thing to do and is extremely welcome.
“I hope the government will also make clear we will not go down the road of coercive lockdowns ever again.”
Tory MP Michael Fabricant added: “Predictions made by the WHO
that the UK will be the first country in the northern hemisphere to leave the Covid pandemic will be true.
“Fast roll out of vaccine, gap reduced between jabs, not shutting down the country. All calls Boris got right and which Starmer opposed.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid declared: “We are the freest country in Europe thanks to the strong defences we have built. We’re learning to live with COVID.”
A beaming No 10 spokesman said it’s an “important step for this country” which “shows that the hard work of the British people is paying off”.
He added: “It is a boon both for the public – we are able to restore freedoms – but also to our hard-hit businesses, particularly hospitality, enabling our economy to grow further.”
Currently everyone who tests positive for the virus must quarantine at home for at least five full days.
If you return two negative lateral flow swabs on days five and six you can then leave isolation early.
Fully vaccinated Brits who come into contact with an infected person should test daily but don’t have to isolate so long as they remain negative.
Meanwhile unvaccinated people who are close contacts of Covid sufferers must go into quarantine for 10 days.
There are fines of up to £10,000 for flouting the laws.
But those rules will be ditched later this month and it will instead be up to ordinary Brits to use their common sense when they feel ill.
Downing St insisted that while the law would be dropped health guidance will remain in place.
A spokesman said: “Obviously in the same way that someone with flu, we wouldn’t recommend they go to work, we would never recommend anyone goes to work when they have an infectious disease.”
He added that businesses will be given a “wide range of guidance” on how to treat employees following the removal of the self-isolation requirement.
Currently staff who have to quarantine because of Covid are advised to ask their bosses if they’re covered by sick pay.
Low earners who can’t afford the time off work can apply for a a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.