Boris Johnson set to bring an end to self-isolation rules in England

The Prime Minister is to outline his plan for 'living with Covid'.

Boris Johnson set to bring an end to self-isolation rules in England in further devolved nations divergence iStock

Boris Johnson is to signal the end of self-isolation requirements in England in what will mark one of the starkest contrasts on Covid measures between the UK nations throughout the pandemic.

Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales have largely implemented similar measures to combat the spread of the virus since the pandemic began nearly two years ago.

But, the scrapping of rules on self-isolation will be one of the most significant divergences during that time.

The Prime Minister will set out his plan for ‘living with Covid’ on Monday afternoon.

It aims to set out a route map for England towards a ‘return to normality’, with Johnson promising that the plan will be about ‘finally giving people back their freedom’.

But, health experts have criticised the decision to end the need to self-isolate after a positive result.

And concerns have been raised by leaders in the devolved nations over the move, with calls for greater caution to be taken over the easing of restrictions.

So, what will some of the key differences be? STV News looks at some of the rules in place.


This is set to be the most significant changes to be implemented by the UK Government going forward.

It will mean that people in England will not need to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus.

Currently, people in England are required to isolate for five days.

In Scotland, the requirement is still isolation for seven days if you have symptoms or have had a positive lateral flow test.

People in Scotland can then end self-isolation after two negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart on days six and seven.

Anyone leaving self-isolation is still strongly advised to limit their close contact with others in crowded or poor ventilated areas.

Household contacts of confirmed cases do not have to isolate, but should take lateral flow tests daily for seven days and isolate if any of those are positive.

Face coverings

In England, the legal requirement to wear a face mask was dropped last month.

People instead were asked to use their ‘personal judgment’ in choosing when to wear a face covering.

However, a number of shops, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, John Lewis and Morrisons announced that they would continue to ask people to wear one.

Rail operators also urged passengers to continue to wear a face covering, but explained that they would not be forced to comply.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said masks would remain mandatory on Transport for London services.

In Scotland, the requirement to wear a face mask has not been dropped, and people are still required to wear them on public transport, as well as in most indoor public spaces such as shops and in hospitality venues.

Secondary school pupils have also been required to wear masks whilst in classrooms, but they will no longer need to do so from February 28.

Although, they will still need to wear face coverings beyond that date in communal areas and when moving around inside school buildings.

Covid passports

Scotland still requires people to show a Covid passport – verifying that you’ve been vaccinated against Covid – to enter a number of venues.

The scheme applies to nightclubs, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people unseated outdoor events with more than 4000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

Organisers of large events are asked to check the passes of 50% or 1000, people in attendance.

But in England, Covid passports were scrapped in England in January.

It means that people do not need to show proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and large events, although venues can still opt to use the scheme on a voluntary basis if they wish.

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