As Prime Minister Boris Johnson reveals his new Living With Covid plan to the country, England is just two days away from lifting practically all pandemic restrictions.

Coming almost two years after the first lockdown, the plan is that from Thursday (February 24) people will no longer have to self-isolate if they test positive and neither will their close contacts.

Positive or symptomatic people must currently isolate for up to ten days.

Local authorities will now have to manage outbreaks using pre-existing public health powers.

 

Jackie Gumbley, a nursery owner from Cheshire, is reluctant about the new rules.

She told Merseynewslive: “I think the new ‘Living With Covid’ plan is rather dangerous.

“There’s obviously still plenty of cases and regular testing, protects us all.”

“At this point were not sure what will happen, it could end up being classed as an infectious disease like chicken pox. Children may have to stay off anyway.

“I think it will be beneficial to the kids in terms of socialising and development. But I do think it is too much too soon.

She added: “If a staff member gets ill with Covid, there’s then a possibility that the setting will have to close.

“We only have four staff members, we can’t afford Covid being spread easily around the setting.”

Meanwhile, free testing will end in England from April 1, the most vulnerable and the elderly will have access to free tests.

Current data suggests that nearly 4 million people take regular Covid tests.

Jackie added: “I’m happy that free tests will still be given to the vulnerable.

“But how are the rest of us meant to take responsibility of transmission ourselves if many can’t prioritise paying for lateral flow tests?”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said cutting support payments will hit the lowest-paid the hardest.

The “Living with Covid” plan outlines evidence that the vaccine programme, testing and new treatments will be enough to keep the public safe.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a move from government restrictions to personal responsibility.

In a briefing, he said: “We’ve built up strong protections against this virus over the past two years through the vaccine rollouts, tests, new treatments, and the best scientific understanding of what this virus can do.”

He expressed gratitude for the vaccination programmes.

“Thanks to our successful vaccination programme and the sheer magnitude of people who have come forward to be jabbed we are now in a position to set out our plan for living with Covid this week.”

But not everyone agrees with the PM that the new rules will be beneficial.

 

Here’s what the people of Liverpool think about the new regulations.

Ilaria Mangiardi, a tech communicator commented on the new rules and said: “It’s like an alien living on planet Earth.

“Everyone is craving normal despite the high numbers. Being tired doesn’t mean it’s over.”

About one in 20 people in England had the infection in the week ending February 12, according to the ONS.

Meanwhile, about 91% of people in the UK aged 12 and over have had a first dose of the vaccine, 85% a second jab, and 66% a booster or a third dose.

Doug Hunter a marketing and PR executive from the Wirral commented: “I agree I want it to be over too but it doesn’t mean it’s the right or safe thing to do.

“I feel desperately for those who can’t have the vaccine, should they just shield for life?

“How many deaths are worth it for a populist uptick in the ratings?”

The current isolation regulations were set to expire on March 24, but the prime minister chose to lift them earlier due to ‘encouraging data trends.’

Despite the concerns, many are relieved an end is in sight.

Reece Rawlings, an LJMU sport student, said: “I’m happy the isolation rules are ending, it means things are starting to go back to normality. Life has to go back to normal eventually.

“But I do think it should’ve waited at least a few more months, it seems a bit sudden to me.

“I feel lifting restrictions might be too dangerous for vulnerable people.”

Featured Image: Pippa Fowles / 10 Downing Street – Flickr

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