MAJOR MILESTONE: IT’S ALMOST OVER! LIFE TO RETURN TO NORMAL AS SELF-ISOLATION AND FREE TESTING IS SCRAPPED

Islanders will no longer have to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 from Thursday and free COVID testing will end on 1st April, effectively bringing an end to one of the country’s most difficult periods in history, it has been announced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the jubilant news today (Monday) as he sets out the Government’s plan of learning to live with COVID, marking a major milestone in returning to life as normal. Whilst Mr Johnson has said the pandemic isn’t over just yet, for most people Thursday’s ‘Freedom Day’ will be seen as the last hurdle and effectively the end of the COVID nightmare and the era of national lockdowns and restrictions.

For the first time since the pandemic began almost 2 years ago, anyone who tests positive for COVID will no longer have to self-isolate. There will be no legal requirement to take any action, but the Government is advising people – until 1st April – to stay at home, before then taking personal responsibility much like one would with a bad cold.

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Mr Johnson has confirmed that free testing for the general public won’t go until 1st April. After that date, people will be able to purchase tests and free tests will still be available to the oldest and most vulnerable in society who are symptomatic. It remains unclear if hospital patients and visitors will still be required to test to gain entry.

It has also been announced that from today schools are no longer being advised to test staff and pupils twice a week. Furthermore, it has been revealed that contact tracing is to end from Thursday, as well as self-isolation payments. From 24th March, enhanced statutory sick pay will be removed so people can only claim from Day 4.

No more scenes like this… The British Army help transform Laidlaw into a new hospital ward

It’s also been announced that a 4th COVID jab will be available from the Spring, as life returns to full normality. It will only be available to those over 75, older adults in care homes and immunosuppressed people aged 12 and over.

Boris Johnson’s announcement failed to mention 2 vital things though; masks and international travel. Although masks are not required in most venues, a number of establishments are still insisting on the use of face coverings – including in healthcare settings. It was hoped by many that organisations would be told to stop in a bid to return to normality, but the Prime Minister’s lack of direction on the matter means it’s likely the status quo will remain.

The government is said to be reviewing the use of passenger locator forms and will report back by Easter.

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The COVID dashboard, which gives daily updates on cases, deaths, hospitalisations and vaccinations, is expected to be scrapped and replaced with a less frequent update, which will see the end of depressing daily updates from some news sources.

Today’s news should mean the end of staff shortages, cancelled events and mask-wearing, as well as the level of uncertainty when it comes to planning life events.


Since the start of the pandemic, Island Echo has published in excess of 1,700 news stories related to COVID-19 – or coronavirus as it was more commonly referred to at the beginning. Our first article was on 3rd February 2020 as we reported that the Isle of Wight Council was monitoring the coronavirus situation carefully. Then, on 7th March 2020, it was revealed that the first positive case had been identified on the Island.

Now, 2 years on, it is hoped that this will be one of the final COVID-19 stories published, but there is a little way to run yet it seems…

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Andy
Andy
5 months ago

I think this report is very optimistic! Let’s hope you’re right.

Very Old Bill
Very Old Bill
Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

I fully agree. I would so love to wake up on Thursday morning and be officially told “The Pandemic is over, the virus and all variants have gone away for ever, thank you for your cooperation”. I AM glad that those who were conscious-enough to complete their self-isolation, did so, even at the expense of having to miss work & pay, but also happy that in doing so we kept the spread of Infection down to a liveable-with level. Let’s wait and see how this Spring goes.

Tyler
Tyler
5 months ago

Laughable, Boris Johnson who?

John
John
Reply to  Tyler
5 months ago

I am no fan of Boris, but I do realise that if Starmer was PM
we would all still be in Lockdown.

newman
newman
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Why? Cos Boris said so?

Norman Snapp
Norman Snapp
Reply to  John
5 months ago

I am no fan of Boris but I do realise we could all have been partying 12 months ago.

John
John
5 months ago

If it’s back to normal that should mean St Mary’s Hospital drop all inhumane rules and let families visit loved ones.
Get ridiculous security off the doors.
It’s an Hospital not a nightclub or Prison

A W
A W
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Last time I went to st Marys and got the 20 questions on the door and I said to the security guard “sorry but I thought the prison was across the road?”

John
John
Reply to  A W
5 months ago

They should put H M P above the doors of St Marys

Lover of life
Lover of life
Reply to  John
5 months ago

It’s not security unless you got something to hide, they are there to ask you to sanitise your hands and help you with enquiries. The hospital has to protect the vulnerable patients some with life changing illnesses. Stop moaning.

Lilly King
Lilly King
Reply to  Lover of life
5 months ago

You have obviously not been affected by this situation have you? Stop sitting there in supreme judgment when other peoples lives are in torment

Sunshine
Sunshine
Reply to  John
5 months ago

What. Are you serious? I know it’s not nice not being able to visit but come on, you can’t have everyone visiting the wards and bringing in more COVID. At its worst, COVID infection on the island was v high. Hospitals are full of sick, weak people. Good on St Mary’s for being so responsible. I didn’t see my Dad for 2 weeks, but he was as safe as they could keep him from COVID

Lilly King
Lilly King
Reply to  Sunshine
5 months ago

Nobody with covid should be visiting the hospital you idiot

John
John
Reply to  Sunshine
5 months ago

You were lucky your Dad was ok, sadly many persons died and were denied visits

Chris
Chris
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Would love to know how much it has cost to have security on the door at the hospital

John
John
Reply to  Chris
5 months ago

Too much, money should be used on patients

Laura Evans
Laura Evans
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Same goes for Red Jet, where they treat you like children and you can’t disembark until they call out your section. And before they start doing so they stand on the side of the boat & dock chatting to each other just to show you who’s in charge. Pathetic people.

Arthur Sausage
Arthur Sausage
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Being St Mary’s is an area that Covid is not needed I have no issues with security & other actions to make the hospital a Covid free area for sale of us if needing treatment.
I will still were mask when going into hospital.

Lilly King
Lilly King
Reply to  Arthur Sausage
5 months ago

You have to wear a mask anyway. That wouldn’t change. Until you’re in our predicament I think you should stay quiet. Easy to voice iff on here and pass judgment when you’re not losing someone unesseraily

John
John
Reply to  Arthur Sausage
5 months ago

I am not against people wearing masks.
I am against persons not being allowed to visit loved ones.
When a person is ill, the best medicine is visits from their family and friends.

Lilly King
Lilly King
Reply to  John
5 months ago

Yes. We can’t visit our dad still and he’s quite unwell. His mental health is suffering which impacts on his physical well being. Being kept apart like this now is inhumane. Let it go please. If we lose him at this stage in the game there’ll be a huge complaint going in and papers involved. It’s got to stop now!!!

John
John
Reply to  Lilly King
5 months ago

I pray your Dad improves.
It is inhumane to deny families visiting loved ones.

Claire
Claire
Reply to  John
5 months ago

I had to go to A & E last month when i got a large barbed fishing hook stuck in my finger. Painful and bleeding i was told at reception i needed to have phoned first to book an appointment! Book appointment for A & E crazy.

The Truth
The Truth
Reply to  John
5 months ago

St. Mary’s wouldn’t have had to apply such security during a pandemic if there were no self-entitled people concerned with only their own needs and wants (no matter how severe), willing to fragrantly ignore societal rules, possibly fuelled by some convincing junk on Facebook.
Indeed, the internet doth make people thick.

Molly
Molly
5 months ago

Is it me or am I imagining things as all of a sudden more shop staff behind counter are wearing masks ,what happened to can’t catch Covid off work colleague lolol as so many were appearing to think

crofty
crofty
5 months ago

so if all covid rules are being scrapped from february 24th that should include hospitals etc sick to to the back teeth of them i have had both vaccinations plus the booster i,m not prepared to wear a face mask all day anymore.

dave richards
dave richards
5 months ago

So as the clock goes a minute passed midnight on thursday morning everything suddenly
becomes normal. What a great prime minister Boris is to have super powers and everybody is now safe.

Lowie
Lowie
5 months ago

I look after a very vulnerable person and sticking to guidelines we have avoided it, apart from 2 staff, who isolated, so if we don’t now, my client could/ will get it, and results could be fatal, decision to not isolate is ridiculous

Eye Cee
Eye Cee
5 months ago

Covid is the least of our problems now…… WWIII cometh.

Jamie
Jamie
5 months ago

The scam is over at last what a waste of mo yes and time hopefully the truth will come out soon

Ben
Ben
5 months ago

Ends on April fools how fitting

Banner
Banner
5 months ago

Well, if this war with Russia kicks off, there won’t be anyone left to catch covid.

fred
fred
5 months ago

I think it would be considerate that if you have a bad cold / flu or any other bug that can make someone else ill that you stay home for a few days. I get that not everyone can do that, but most can. Giving flu to everyone at work and at the pub is selfish and inconsiderate.
Flu has been at an all time low the last two years. I wonder why?

Arthur Sausage
Arthur Sausage
5 months ago

But for how long!
Laughable.
Does Boris have a crystal ball, don’t answer that.!

bob
bob
5 months ago

what about the people at work that are high risk or have high risk family members. they are not going to appreciate me coming to work with covid. and vice versa i don’t want it either! 🙁

Jackie
Jackie
Reply to  bob
5 months ago

So true!!! I can’t believe this no self isolating stuff. So you can have covid but still go out, spread your germs around and infect god knows how many really vulnerable people. This government and especially that buffoon of a so called Prime minister has to be the most corrupt and uncaring lot ever!!!!

Trueblue
Trueblue
5 months ago

At least more people are ditching their masks now, & embracing normally, thankfully.

Trueblue
Trueblue
Reply to  Trueblue
5 months ago

….i mean ‘normality’

Dr.jollop
Dr.jollop
Reply to  Trueblue
5 months ago

Lol, I think you were right the first time.

Miss Sensible
Miss Sensible
5 months ago

As long as all you covidiots respect other people’s views fine ….
If someone wants to or needs to wear a mask please respect them !!!!!!
If someone asks you to move back respect them ….
We all are entitled to our opinions but being responsible and respectful of your fellow human beings surely isn’t such a hardship?????
Think of all those that have lost family and friends to covid…
All those people that have been front line ….
Just think how you would feel …
No room for selfishness or complacency….
Just Respect……

Very Old Bill
Very Old Bill
Reply to  Miss Sensible
5 months ago

Totally agree with you, take care

Hammer
Hammer
Reply to  Miss Sensible
5 months ago

Well said Miss Sensible. I totally agree with your remarks. It will be interesting to see in a few months time what the covid figures are, especially if a more virulent strain appears. Hopefully I am wrong but I say to all the covidiots out there, respect us that still wear our masks in shops and crowded places and take all the other precautions because I believe that by your selfish actions you will be prolonging this horrible pandemic.

June
June
5 months ago

If it is over why is there so much talk about a new variant? I will still be taking necessary precautions no matter what the government says!

Ed Down
Ed Down
Reply to  June
5 months ago

Another new variant? News to me

 

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