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Tipsheet

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Announces End to COVID Restrictions

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an end to virtually all COVID-19 restrictions in England, sharing during a press conference that "all remaining domestic restrictions will be removed." This is part of a "living with COVID" plan as the Wuhan coronavirus looks to be endemic.

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The prime minister highlighted how removing restrictions could bring people "towards a return to normality" and mentioned that the country needs to be able to "learn to live with this virus and continue protecting ourselves and others without restrictions on our freedoms." However, he did say that it was "not a day to declare victory" over the virus."

As an explainer from the BBC lays out, some restrictions will be removed immediately. For instance, as of February 21, the day Johnson made his announcement, staff and students in most education and childcare settings will no longer have to test twice weekly.

Many will go into effect as of Thursday, February 24. People will COVID will no longer legally have to isolate, though guidance will remain in place for those who test positive to remain home and avoid contact with others for at least five days. Workers will also no longer have to tell their employer if they need to self-isolate. Routine contact tracing is coming to an end as well.

As of April 1, COVID tests will no longer be free for most people, though they still will be for vulnerable populations. COVID passports will no longer be recommended the BBC also notes, except for international travel. And employers will no longer have to explicitly consider the virus in their health and safety risk assessments.

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England had already lifted its mask mandate last month. 

The BBC also mentioned that this easing of restrictions only apply to England. 

This announcement comes after the palace announced on Sunday that Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive for COVID, as had many others of the royal family. 

The BBC had also reported, though, that the queen's symptoms are mild and she is able to carry out light duties. As a sign of how well she is doing, she even issued a statement of congratulations to Great Britain's women's curling team in the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Reason's senior editor, Robby Soave, also tweeted that the queen being diagnosed with COVID is a sign that more restrictions needed to be lifted in the United States, where many children are still subject to mask mandates at school. 

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As I covered last November, the United States was one of just seven western nations that had school mask mandates in place.

Some of the most liberal states are putting an end to COVID restrictions, such as mask mandates, especially now that it seems politically expedient. Some lifting of restrictions even went into effect immediately, such as is in New Mexico

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