Oonagh Keating. Updated February 22nd, 2022
Despite a short delay while Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid argued over the cost-benefit analysis of *checks notes* preventing citizens from catching and spreading a potentially fatal virus, Boris Johnson’s much trumpeted end to Covid regulations was on Monday.
Javid lost the argument.
Legal requirement to self-isolate after positive Covid test in England to end on Thursday, UK PM Boris Johnson confirms https://t.co/x645cJImgZ
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) February 21, 2022
The man who hopes to negotiate peace with Putin is struggling to negotiate peace between his health secretary and his chancellor
— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) February 21, 2022
Rishi Sunak has had quite the journey from ‘we will do whatever it takes’ to ‘sorry your poverty-stricken nan is going to have to pay to find out if she’s got covid’
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) February 21, 2022
The overall trend is from mandates to personal responsibility.
Covid-19 has not gone away, but because of the efforts we have made as a country over the past two years we can now move from government regulations to personal responsibility.
Read our plan for living with Covid ⬇️
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 21, 2022
Love being lectured in personal responsibility by a Prime Minister who doesn’t know how many kids he has.
— Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb) February 21, 2022
Here’s a summary of the main changes in England:
(From 24th February)
No legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid, though the advice to do so remains in place.
The Test and Trace Support Scheme ends, with backdated claims allowed for one more month after this.
Routine testing and tracing to end, meaning no requirement to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person.
(From 1st April – yes, really)
An end to universal free testing, with some exceptions.
Proof of vaccination is no longer required for anything other than international travel, where other countries demand it.
Advise to self-isolate if testing positive ends.
Covid will cease to be a compulsory part of employers’ health and safety assessments.
As ever, the devolved UK parliaments will make their own rules, but as no additional funds will be allocated for Covid measures, they have effectively been forced to fall into step with England.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are PISSED OFF. https://t.co/GBR3A4ZKj0
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@OwsWills) February 21, 2022
At a Downing Street briefing attended by both Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM’s response to a question about the impact on the clinically extremely vulnerable was to say they should be treated with respect.
He gave no tips on how to identify them, though. Perhaps they’ll be required to wear a special hat or carry a placard.
I’m certainly not a scientist but I simply don’t understand how you ‘prioritise keeping the vulnerable safe’ if you have no idea who or who doesn’t have this still deadly disease
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) February 21, 2022
Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance have agreed to join me at my press conference today, after which I have guaranteed that their families will be safely released.#DowningStreetBriefing
— Parody Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson_MP) February 21, 2022
We thought these reactions captured the mood very well.
This isn’t about “living with Covid”. It’s about placating Tory backbenchers and saving Boris Johnson’s skin.
He’s putting himself before public health.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) February 21, 2022
Boris Johnson hoping if he ghosts Covid it’ll go away
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) February 21, 2022
“Everyone needs to take personal responsibility” – a man who is currently using the “I don’t know what a party is” defence whilst being under investigation by the police for six lockdown parties
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) February 21, 2022
BREAKING: As covid restrictions come to an end in England, Boris Johnson says the public should use their ‘best judgment’, which must mean drinking wine and eating cheese whilst you should be working.
— Dave (@davechannel) February 21, 2022
“I’m pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed the coronavirus that supposedly injured some old people. But, as you see, it’s a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time”#LivingWithCovid pic.twitter.com/XjfdJt4GJt
— mnrrntt (@mnrrntt) February 21, 2022
BREAKING: Boris Johnson is planning the best April fool’s joke ever! He’s going to pretend we’re “living with Covid” and then let all the CEV people die.
Wait, did I say best April fool’s joke ever? Obviously, I meant worst. Why is he still our prime minister, please? x
— Laura Kuenssberg Translator (@BBCLauraKT) February 21, 2022
PM to unveil ‘living with Covid’ plan, as he needs to keep the distractions up and hadn’t banked on Putin taking this long.
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) February 21, 2022
This isn’t “live with Covid”. It’s “pretend Covid doesn’t exist”, by defying medical facts in favor of the unhinged ideologues on the Tory backbenches, because Boris Johnson depends on them for his survival.
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) February 21, 2022
— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan 💙 (@DrRosena) February 21, 2022
#InTheNews: The Prime Minister, having led (among other things) about Brexit, corruption, the NHS, his misuse of public money, and the 16 parties he claimed not to have attended at Downing Street during the lockdown, now fullys to be believed when he tells us Covid is over.
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) February 21, 2022