Plan B To Continue
The Prime Minister confirmed on 5th January that England is to continue with ‘Plan B’ rules for now, with no tighter restrictions – the situation will be reviewed on 26th January. The PM stated that the measures could not be scrapped completely as Omicrom continues to spread widely (1 in 15 people in England had Covid on New Year’s Eve) and some hospitals are struggling to cope. However, there will be an easing of the rules relating to Covid testing and to international travel.
Under Plan B: –
- Face coverings are mandatory in England’s shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, public transport, banks and post offices etc. and in most public indoor venues, visitor attractions and entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, places of worship and community centres (including village halls). There are exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising – consequently, face coverings will not be required in hospitality settings such as pubs and restaurants.
- People who can do so are advised to work from home
- The NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App is mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees
People are advised to test using a lateral flow device, particularly before entering crowded spaces and visiting vulnerable friends or family. Secondary school children will have to wear face coverings in the classroom
Under the revised arrangements for Covid testing, with effect from 11th January, anyone in England without symptoms who receives a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result should report their result on gov.uk and must self-isolate immediately, but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test. After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced.
Anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive two negative lateral flow test results, 24 hours apart, on days six and seven.
Anyone who has symptoms will still need to take a PCR test regardless, and anyone who tests positive with any test must self-isolate. For further information, please see here.
Under revised arrangements for international travel, pre-departure travel Covid tests to enter England from overseas will be scrapped for double vaccinated passengers from Friday 7th January. From Sunday 9th January, arrivals in England will no longer need to take a PCR test and isolate before a negative result. Instead, just one lateral flow test will be needed after arrival – with no isolation required while waiting for a test result. For further details please see here.