Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced British COVID-19 self-isolation restrictions could end this month.
The current rule that requires people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for five days is set to expire on March 24.
Johnson, who has come under scrutiny for flouting COVID-19 regulations at private social events, announced his intention to terminate the regulations while speaking with Parliament on Feb. 9.
“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,” Johnson said.
The Prime Minister said he will present a plan for living with the coronavirus when parliament reconvenes on Feb. 21. His administration has said it will introduce advisory measures and treat COVID-19 as it does the flu.
The government has already repealed a number of COVID-19 restrictions in January, including ending mandatory mask mandates everywhere but London’s public transit. Work from home recommendations and proof of vaccination requirements for large-scale events have been discarded.
Downing Street confirmed after Johnson’s statement that it would not recommend anyone attend work if they have coronavirus.
“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,” said a spokesman for the Prime Minister.
On Feb. 11, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to show negative COVID-19 test before or after arriving in the United Kingdom. Unvaccinated travelers will have to submit to COVID-19 testing, but they will not be required to isolate upon arrival.
The announcement was commended by Lord David Frost, who served as a Brexit Minister but left Johnson’s government in 2021 citing “coercive policies on COVID.”
“The PM’s plan to end all COVID restrictions a month early is the right thing to do and is extremely welcome,” he said in a statement. “I hope the government will also make clear we will not go down the road of coercive lockdowns ever again.”
The United Kingdom has recorded just over 18 million cases of COVID-19. There have been 15.5 million confirmed recoveries and almost 160,000 fatalities.
After peaking at approximately 273,000 in early January of 2022, the number of daily new cases of COVID-19 is now about 68,000.