02 January 2022

What Covid-19 restrictions are in place across the UK in 2022?

02 January 2022

Governments have altered coronavirus rules in the new year period amid the rising case rates fuelled by the Omicron variant.

The self-isolation period has been reduced in most of the UK while schoolchildren in England will now be required to wear face coverings in the classroom.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Covid-19 measures compare in the four nations.

– What is happening in England?

The Education Secretary has said face-to-face teaching will continue and remain “the norm” as he outlined a series of Covid measures for schools.

Nadhim Zahawi said secondary pupils will have to wear masks in classrooms and should have a coronavirus test at school before beginning the new term, followed by regular tests at home.

England had the most relaxed rules in the UK for New Year celebrations although Covid passes for entry into nightclubs and other venues have been in place since December 15.

This applies to indoor events with 500 or more attendees where people are likely to stand or move around, such as music venues, as well as certain outdoor events, such as music festivals, and any events with 10,000 or more attendees.

Passengers wearing masks travelling via Waterloo station in London (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Face coverings have also been made compulsory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport, and people have been told to work from home if they can.

If a person in England has tested positive or has symptoms, they can stop self-isolating after seven days instead of 10 if they receive two negative lateral flow test results on days six and seven.

Those who are unvaccinated close contacts of positive cases must still isolate for 10 days.

Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go in to work but is encouraged to consider taking lateral flow tests regularly.

– What is Northern Ireland doing?

On Thursday, it was announced the self-isolation period for confirmed Covid-19 cases will be reduced in Northern Ireland from 10 days to seven in line with England.

The new rule will be subject to negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven, and will apply retrospectively and take effect from Friday.

Nightclubs were closed ahead of New Year’s Eve and dancing has been prohibited in hospitality venues.

Weddings are not affected (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)

This will not apply to weddings.

People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers will be limited to six.

Ministers have also agreed that sporting events can continue with no limits on capacity, while the work-from-home message is being bolstered and legislation introduced to require social distancing in offices and similar workplaces.

The guidance is for mixing in a domestic setting to be limited to three households.

– What rules are in place for Wales?

The Welsh Government has also reduced the mandatory isolation period for people who test positive with Covid-19 from 10 days to seven, subject to two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

Groups of no more than six people are allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants.

Licensed premises can offer table service only, face masks will have to be worn and contact tracing details collected, and two-metre social distancing rules are in place.

A package of seven NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 self-testing kits (Zoe Linkson/PA) (PA Archive)

Nightclubs have been closed since Boxing Day and there is a requirement to work from home wherever possible.

A maximum of 30 people can attend indoor events and a maximum of 50 people are allowed at outdoor events.

People attending weddings or civil partnership receptions or wakes are also being told to take a lateral flow test before attending.

– What is the situation in Scotland?

Events have one-metre social distancing and are limited to 100 people standing indoors, 200 people sitting indoors and 500 people outdoors.

One-metre physical distancing is in place in all indoor hospitality and leisure settings.

Table service is also required where alcohol is being served.

Homeworking is expected under current rules (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Since December 14, people have been asked to reduce their social contacts as much as possible by meeting in groups of no more than three households.

Allowing staff to work from home where possible has become a legal duty on employers.

Care home visits have also been limited to two households.

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