(CNN) –– A day after it became known that Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for covid-19, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, announced his plans to end the isolation measures and also on the distribution of free coronavirus tests in England.
Queen Elizabeth II has covid-19, reports Buckingham Palace
In an intervention before Parliament on Monday, Johnson outlined Britain’s roadmap to suspend all legal measures and start “living with covid-19”. The three other UK nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have delegated authority to implement their own rules.
Although the prime minister hailed the end of restrictions, he and other UK officials made it clear that the pandemic is not over.
“Covid-19 is not going to suddenly go away,” Johnson said. In that sense, he indicated that the government will continue to monitor new, more dangerous variants and maintain a certain infrastructure to identify any mutation of the virus.
Johnson opened his statement by wishing the queen a speedy recovery from covid-19. And he added that it was “a reminder that this virus has not disappeared”, although he also stressed that the time had come to “move from government restrictions to personal responsibility”.
The 95-year-old sovereign, celebrating her 70th year on the throne, has mild cold-like symptoms. But, she hopes to continue her light duty at Windsor over the next week, she announced at Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
Restrictions will be phased out
The end of the restrictions in Great Britain will happen in phases and depends on the approval of Parliament.
The legal requirement to isolate after testing positive for covid-19 will end on February 24. Although, government advice that people should self-isolate after having a positive test will stand.
Vaccinated contacts of those who tested positive will no longer be required to be tested for seven days. Also, unvaccinated contacts will not be legally required to isolate. Workers will no longer be required to inform their employers if they have tested positive.
People who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive will no longer be traced.
Due to these changes, the government will remove some of the financial support that has been offered for those who cannot work from home if they test positive from March 24.
And from April 1, the government will no longer provide free rapid tests to the public. Although it was not reported how much a package of seven tests would cost.
From now on, the tests will be much more specific, in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and other places where vulnerable people can come into contact with the virus.
Johnson also said that, at this point, the government would no longer require people to carry proof of Covid-19 status nationwide in England. Many lawmakers from the prime minister’s Conservative party had been deeply uncomfortable with the idea of vaccine passports.
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