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England ends COVID restrictions, isolation law

LONDON (AP) – All government-mandated coronavirus restrictions in England were lifted on Thursday, including the legal requirement for people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home.

Officials said that those who tested positive will still be advised to stay at home for at least five days. But from Thursday they are not legally obliged to do so, and those on lower incomes will no longer get extra financial support to make up for a loss of income due to isolation. The routine tracing of infected people’s contacts has also been scrapped.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out his Conservative government’s strategy for “living with COVID” in the longer term.

FILE – A man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of coronavirus walks past a health campaign poster from the One NGO, in an underpass leading to Westminster underground train station, in London. AP

He said Britain is moving “from legal restrictions to personal responsibility”, and that the end of all domestic legal measures marked the end of the darkest years in the country’s peacetime history. The strategy includes plans to massively scale back free universal coronavirus testing from April 1.

England already binned most virus restrictions in January, after infection rates and hospitalisations fell following a surge in late December. Face masks are no longer legally required anywhere and vaccine passports for entering venues were scrapped.

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