Thanks to our hugely successful vaccination programme, the immunity built up in the population and new antiviral and therapeutics tools, the UK is in the strongest possible position to learn how to live with COVID, end government regulation and focus on personal responsibility.
The legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test has ended. Those who test positive will still be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, especially those who are more at-risk. Individuals may choose to take a Lateral Flow Device after 5 and 6 days and, if both are negative, they can safely return to their normal routine. This will remain the case until the end of winter and, from 1 April, those with COVID symptoms will be encouraged to exercise personal responsibility and be considerate to others in the same vein as advice on other infectious diseases like flu.
In addition, fully vaccinated individuals are no longer asked to test daily for seven days, and the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate has been removed. As with positive cases, guidance will set out the precautions that those who live in the same household as someone who has COVID-19 are advised to take to reduce risk to other people. Other contacts will be advised to take extra care in following general guidance for the public on safer behaviours.
The pandemic is not over and COVID will not suddenly disappear, but because of the extraordinary efforts we have made as a country over the past two years, it is now possible to deal with it in a different way.