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Coronavirus: a helping hand for residents

This is where you can find information about coronavirus (COVID-19) including what you can do to protect and help yourself.

Published on: 29 December 2021

Last updated: 20 January 2022

Updates for residents

Prime Minister’s announcement - Plan B measures to be lifted

On Wednesday 19 January, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions currently in place against the emergence of the COVID variant Omicron in England will be lifted following a review of Plan B measures. This means:

  • As of Wednesday 19 January, the work from home guidance has been lifted. Staff should speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office.
  • As of Thursday 20 January, face coverings are no longer advised for staff and students in secondary school and college classrooms.
  • From Thursday 27 January, it will no longer be mandatory to wear face coverings in most indoor settings including in communal areas of schools. It is recommended to continue wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t usually meet and on public transport.
  • From Thursday 27 January, venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. Organisations can voluntarily choose to continue to use the NHS COVID Pass.
  • Some measures will remain in place, including those on self-isolation (see the latest changes to the self-isolation period below).

Changes to isolation period following a positive test

As of Monday 17 January, the isolation period following a positive test result has changed. You can now leave self-isolation after 5 full days, if you do a rapid lateral flow test on days 5 and 6 of your self-isolation period and provided:

  • both tests are negative
  • you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
  • you do not have a high temperature

If you leave self-isolation on or after day 6, you are strongly advised to:

  • wear a face covering and limit your close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces
  • work from home if you can
  • minimise your contact with anyone who is at higher risk from COVID-19

Read more about the change on the GOV.UK website.

Changes to what to do after a positive lateral flow test 

As of 11 January, if you don’t have symptoms but test positive on a rapid lateral flow in England you no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test. You must self-isolate immediately and report your result on the GOV.UK website. If you have symptoms, you should continue to get a PCR test as soon as possible.

New travel testing requirements 

As of 7 January, if you are under 18 or qualify as fully vaccinated, you no longer need to:  

  • take a pre-departure test before you travel to England  
  • self-isolate when you arrive in England (you should still book and pay for post-arrival tests) 

As of Sunday 9 January, if you are under 18 or qualify as fully vaccinated, you can take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England (you must book the test before you travel). If the test is positive, you must self-isolate and take a free NHS PCR test to confirm the result.  

Read the guidance on the GOV.UK website 

How to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19

Following the identification of the Omicron variant, it is critically important that we all do everything we can to help stop its spread.

This includes:

Read the full guidance on GOV.UK

Find out more on keeping yourself and others healthy and safe

Find information for Westminster businesses

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