The prime minister has admitted today “is not the day we can declare victory over Covid”, even acknowledging the virus is “not going away yet” – hours after he announced an end to all restrictions in England over the coming weeks.
Addressing the nation from Downing Street, Boris Johnson warned the pandemic was not over but insisted the fact rules could end at all was good news. “I do believe this is a moment of pride for our nation and a source of hope for all that we can achieve in the years to come,” he said.
Changes to the rules include an end to mandatory self-isolation for anyone testing positive in England, with people instead being told to exercise “personal responsibility” from Thursday. From 1 April, free universal Covid testing will also end – something health experts have warned could threaten the safety of those most at-risk.
Outlining his living with Covid plan earlier, the PM said testing had become “much less valuable” in restricting the spread of Covid and that the £2bn-a-month cost of the system meant the government had to “scale back” what it could offer.