Living with Covid-19 overview

Animation. Living with Covid-19. 5 things you can do to help protect yourself, your family and your community. Get vaccinated to reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill. If you feel unwell and have flu-like or Covid-19 symptoms and a high temperature avoid close contact with others and stay at home if you can. Let in fresh air when you meet others indoors, especially if they are at high risk from Covid-19. Wash your hands and cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze. Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed places and when coming into contact with people at higher risk from Covid-19.

Due to the everyone following the guidance and the support for the vaccination scheme, England can now go to the next step of living with Covid-19.

The government’s objective in the next phase of the Covid-19 response is to enable the country to manage Covid-19 like other respiratory illnesses, while minimising mortality and retaining the ability to respond if a new variant emerges with more dangerous properties than the Omicron variant, or during periods of waning immunity, that could again threaten to place the NHS under unsustainable
pressure.

The government plans to achieve this objective by structuring its ongoing response around four principles:

  1. Living with Covid-19: removing domestic restrictions while encouraging safer behaviours through public health advice, in common with longstanding ways of managing most other respiratory illnesses
  2. Protecting people most vulnerable to Covid-19: vaccination guided by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice, and deploying targeted testing
  3. Maintaining resilience: ongoing surveillance, contingency planning and the ability to reintroduce key capabilities such as mass vaccination and testing in an emergency
  4. Securing innovations and opportunities from the Covid-19 response, including investment in life sciences

What does this mean for you?

The government will remove remaining domestic restrictions in England, subject to appropriate parliamentary scrutiny.

From 21 February
  • Staff and students in most education and childcare settings will not be required to test twice a week (click here for more information). Instead they should follow asymptomatic testing advice for the general population. Further information is available on the NHS website.
From 24 February
  • There will no longer be a legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. However, although not required, it will be advised that adults and children who test positive continue to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 days. After 5 days, they may choose to take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test followed by another the next day – if both are negative, and they do not have a temperature, they can safely return to their normal routine. Those who test positive should avoid contact with anyone in an at-risk group, including if they live in the same household.
  • Fully vaccinated adults and those aged under 18 who are close contacts of a Covid-19 case will no longer be advised to test daily for seven days. The legal requirement for close contacts of a Covid-19 case who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate will also be removed. If you are a close contact it is advised that you take extra care and follow the general guidance for the public on Covid-safe behaviours.
  • Self-isolation support payments and national funding for practical support will end and the medicine delivery service will no longer be available. People who are instructed to self-isolate before 24 February will still be able to claim support payments within the next 42 days.
  • Routine contact tracing will end. Contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests. Instead, guidance will set out precautions that contacts can take to reduce risk to themselves and other people – and those testing positive for Covid-19 will be encouraged to inform their close contacts so that they can follow the guidance.
  • There will no longer be a legal obligation for for individuals to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate. For more information on specific workplace changes please visit gov.uk for the full ‘Living with Covid-19’ plan.
From 24 March
  • The Covid-19 provisions within the Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations wil be removed.
From 1 April
  • The government will update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with Covid-19 should take to minimise contact with other people.
  • The government will remove the current guidance on domestic voluntary Covid-status certification and will no longer recommend that certain venues use the NHS Covid Pass. The NHS Covid Pass will remain available within the NHS App for a limited period, to support the use of certification in other parts of the UK. The NHS App will continue to allow individuals access to their vaccination status for international travel.
  • The government will no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England. There will be some limited ongoing free testing:
    • limited symptomatic testing available for a small number of at-risk groups – the Government will set out further details on which groups will be eligible.
    • free symptomatic testing will remain available to social care staff
  • Remove every employer’s health and safety requirement to consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments explicitly.

As England moves to the next phase of living with Covid-19, the government will continue to rely on the public to adapt their behaviour.

  • Get vaccinated
  • Let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside
  • Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially where coming into contact with people you do not usually
  • Try to stay at home if unwell
  • Wash your hands and follow advice to “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”

For more information on ‘Living with Covid-19’ please visit gov.uk for the full plan.