Plan B restrictions: When the Covid rules will change in England as Prime Minister confirms next steps

Additional coronavirus measures put in place to combat the spread of the Omicron variant will expire next week, the Prime Minister has confirmed.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:16 pm

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Boris Johnson gave a statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, January 19 to confirm that many of the country’s Plan B restrictions will be wound down on Thursday, January 27.

From this date, compulsory use of Covid certification and the mandatory use of face coverings will end. Work-from-home guidance has been immediately lifted.

Use of face coverings in schools will be dropped on Thursday, January 20.

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Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “This morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign – together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures – we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire.

"As a result, from the start of Thursday next week mandatory certification will end.”

Venues may opt to continue using the NHS Covid Pass scheme, the Prime Minister added, and the Government will keep encouraging the use of masks in crowded or enclosed indoor spaces – but neither of these things will be legally mandated as of next Thursday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured ahead of PMQs on Wednesday, January 19. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

The requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19 remains in force under Plan A, as do testing rules surrounding international travel.

But Mr Johnson continued to say that self-isolation regulations are due to expire on Thursday, March 24 – and at this point, he does not plan to renew them.

"There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether - just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu,” he told the House.

“As Covid becomes endemic we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.”

Here is how you reacted to Wednesday’s announcement on our social media pages:

Tracey Alletson: “So vulnerable people go back to hiding in their homes, do they? Honestly, wearing a mask is such a small sacrifice to keep people safe, I don’t know why it would even be an issue.”

Cath Canavan: “We need to learn to live with it, it’s not going anywhere.”

Rebecca Oman: “Can’t wait for normality again! Young people have sacrificed enough of their short life.”

Estelle Fenwick: “He’s trying to please people to get them on his side.”

Lisa Aynsley: “Marvellous stuff, about time too.”

Elaine Johnson: “Brilliant news. Need to get back to normal. All tests need to be scrapped as we learn to live with this.”

Shaun Wright: “Some sort of reality.”

Keith Merritt: “He forgets if it was not for Labour he would never have got it through in the first place as so many of his own voted against it.”

Helen Herdman: “Great news, but he’s trying to save his job.”

Stephen Sullivan: “The Prime Minister is doing everything he can to deflect from the fact he has let the country down!”

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