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COVID-infected people in England may soon not have to isolate

A woman walks past a health campaign poster from the One NGO, in an underpass leading to Westminster underground train station, in London, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.
A woman walks past a health campaign poster from the One NGO, in an underpass leading to Westminster underground train station, in London, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Copyright AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Copyright AP Photo/Matt Dunham
By Euronews
Published on Updated
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament the last domestic restrictions could be lifted by late February if the latest encouraging trends continued.

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A law requiring people with COVID to isolate could be scrapped in England by the end of February, Boris Johnson has announced.

"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," the British Prime Minister told the House of Commons.

He said he intended to present the government's strategy for living with COVID after the return from the half-term recess, which is on February 21.

Last month Johnson announced that the legal requirement for people to self-isolate when infected with coronavirus would be permitted to lapse when regulations expire on March 24.

Most coronavirus restrictions including mandatory face masks were lifted in England on January 27, after Britain's government said its vaccine booster rollout successfully reduced serious illness and COVID-19 hospitalisations.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported recently that infection rates in England remained high, estimating that one in 20 people had the virus in the week ending January 29.

Many politicians from Johnson's ruling Conservative Party have been openly hostile to the continued restrictions. In December around 100 Tory MPs rebelled against the government's move to introduce COVID vaccine passes in England, as Omicron variant infections surged across the country.

The provisional move to end mandatory self-isolation early comes as the prime minister's leadership remains in question following the scandal over parties he and his team attended while the country was in lockdown.

Boris Johnson was questioned twice at Prime Minister's Questions about a new photo allegedly showing him at a Christmas gathering. The Daily Mirror reports that the event took place in Downing Street on December 15, 2020.

Asked whether the matter would be referred to police, the prime minister replied that it had already been "submitted for investigation".

The Gray report into alleged gatherings on government premises during lockdowns covers an event on the date in question, but it is not part of the separate Metropolitan Police inquiry.

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