Government officials in the United Kingdom and France announced that they will be taking steps to remove nationwide COVID-19 restrictions in the next two weeks or so due to a sharp decline in the number of new infections.
The UK and French governments indicated an imminent easing of coronavirus curbs in the matter of days, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing today that the remaining domestic COVID-19 restrictions in England will be removed in less than two weeks, and France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune saying that the country will ease travel restrictions “in the coming days,” removing COVID-19 tests for vaccinated people.
Johnson said he plans to end any remaining restrictions in the country when the House of Commons returns from recess on February 21, with the government set to present MPs with its “strategy for living with COVID.”
Johnson’s announcement is bringing the end UK coronavirus restrictions forward a month earlier than initially planned, for Johnson had previously set March 24 as the date for ending all restrictions, but has now chosen to bring the date forward, calling it an “important step” in the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
While UK official guidelines will continue to urge Brits to stay at home if they contract the coronavirus, there will no longer be a legal requirement to do so, neither there will be a threat of being penalized for up to £10,000 ($13,534) if they fail to self-quarantine.
Meanwhile, in France, the testing rules, reintroduced by the French government in December amid fears over the fast-spreading Omicron variant, are ending as case numbers and the mild impact of the strain means that the measure is no longer required.
The French easing of the COVID-19 restrictions is set to come into effect before the half-term holidays start in the UK and several EU states, which will likely help give France’s tourism industry a boost.
As well as the changes to international rules, France has indicated that the country could be set for a significant easing of its domestic restrictions, with a government spokesperson suggesting the health pass could be scrapped soon.
France’s COVID Vaccine Pass, which is currently required for entry to public venues such as bars and restaurants, could be removed by March or early April, French government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, announced today.