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COVID rules are changing tomorrow as Britain shunts into the next phase of living with the virus.
Although infections remain high, ministers are ploughing ahead with stripping back measures because jabs are keeping deaths down.
Covid guidance is changing tomorrow as the country lives with the virus
Today is the last day most people can get tests for free before having to fork out for them as the Government seeks to save cash.
Sajid Javid is also making key changes to the guidance on self-isolation and vaccine passports.
Here are the three main changes coming in tomorrow:
FREE TESTS AXED
They will have to stump up around £2 for a swab kit if they want one, but can no longer swing by a pharmacy and get one no charge.
People suffering serious illness can still get free tests if they’re suffering symptoms, as can NHS staff.
The Department of Health said universal testing “has come at a significant cost to the taxpayer” – £15.7billion.
STAY HOME WITH SNIFFLES
Because the access to testing has been slashed, from tomorrow the government will ask anyone with symptoms to stay at home.
Tweaked guidance urges people with the signs of any “respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell” to isolate.
Health officials said they should continue isolating “until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature”.
The change in policy strengthens existing guidance which only urges people to stay at home if they have Covid, although not even this is legally required.
DITCH VACCINE PASSPORTS
Large venues will also be told to drop Covid certificates if they are still using them.
Boris Johnson ditched the requirement for crowded places like nightclubs and footie stadiums to check Covid passes earlier this year.
But he said venues could still use them if wanted, and some have continued to check vaccine status.
That will change tomorrow, with ministers now advising places to no longer require Covid certificates as a condition of entry.
The NHS Covid app will remain live for the time being, health official said.
Health Secretary Mr Javid said: “Thanks to our plan to tackle Covid we are leading the way in learning to live with the virus.
“We have made enormous progress but will keep the ability to respond to future threats including potential variants.”
When will free Covid testing end outside of England?
From March 28 the availability of free PCR tests for the public will end and be replaced with lateral flow tests, which will be available until June.
People without symptoms continue to be advised to test twice weekly, while close contacts of a positive case should test daily for seven days, and those with symptoms should get a PCR test.
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said most testing will stop at the end of April. The general public will be encouraged to stay at home if they feel unwell.
But those who are eligible for anti-viral treatments will continue to be able to access testing – in the community and in hospital settings.
Northern Ireland has not yet laid out plans.
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