Feb 9, 2022 - World

Boris Johnson signals early end to U.K. COVID restrictions

boris johnson

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament on Feb. 9. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a plan Wednesday to end England's remaining domestic coronavirus restrictions — including the requirement to self-isolate after testing positive — later this month.

Why it matters: Though COVID-19 cases have fallen since January, they remain "relatively high," CNN reported.

Catch up quick: The country lifted many of its COVID-19 restrictions last July, and last month lifted its testing requirement for fully vaccinated people arriving in England.

  • Last month, the government indicated that remaining domestic restrictions would lift on March 24, when the current rules lapsed, the Guardian reported.

State of play: "It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with COVID," Johnson said while addressing parliament, per Reuters.

  • "Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last remaining domestic restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive, a full month early," he added.
  • Parliament is set to return from its break on Feb. 21, and the new guidelines will likely go into effect on Feb. 24, per the Guardian.

The big picture: Other countries in Europe have also moved to ease public health restrictions in recent weeks.

  • Earlier Wednesday, the Czech Republic ended a requirement for people to show proof of vaccination to attend public events, bars or restaurants or use certain services.
  • Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced last week that all of the country's restrictions would end Wednesday.
  • Earlier this month, Denmark lifted most of its pandemic-related restrictions, with officials saying they no longer consider COVID-19 to be a "socially critical disease."

Yes, but: Austria last week became the first country in the European Union to legally mandate that all adults get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Go deeper: European countries increasingly ease COVID restrictions

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