£500 Test and Trace support scheme to end in England on Thursday – here’s what's happening
The Government's Test and Trace £500 support scheme will be scrapped this Thursday (24 February) after Boris Johnson announced that the majority of coronavirus self-isolation rules will come to an end in England. The support scheme was introduced in September 2020 to help low-wage workers afford to self-isolate.
From Thursday, it will no longer be a legal requirement for people in England to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19. The Prime Minister said it would now be up to people to "exercise personal responsibility" for themselves.
But while the £500 support payment will end on Thursday, the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 support for statutory sick pay will still be able to be claimed for an extra month. For more information on what you're entitled to, see our sick pay guide.
Free Covid-19 testing will also be scrapped and from 1 April, people will have to pay for lateral flow tests and PCR tests - though it isn't yet clear how much these will cost.
The Prime Minister's announcement only applies to England, with the devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland yet to set out their plans.
But for Scotland the vaccine passport scheme, which covers nightclubs and large events, will end on 28 February, the country's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Businesses, however, that wish to continue to use the app can do so. And from 21 March, the legal requirement for face masks to be worn in venues and on public transport in Scotland will come to an end.
What did the Prime Minister say?
Mr Johnson said: "First, we will remove all remaining domestic restrictions in law. From this Thursday, we will end the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. And so, we will also end self-isolation support payments, although Covid permissions for statutory sick pay can still be claimed for a further month.
"We will end routine contact tracing and no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those under 18 to test daily for seven days. And we will remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate."