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
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.
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.
- getting fully vaccinated
- getting your COVID-19 booster vaccination when eligible
- letting fresh air in if you meet indoors, meeting outdoors is safer
- getting tested before periods of higher risk such as visiting vulnerable people or going to a crowded event, and self-isolate if required
- getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolating
- wearing a face covering in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport, unless exempt
- washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitiser when out and about
- trying to stay at home if you’re feeling unwell
- using the NHS COVID-19 app
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