Following an incredible effort to deliver booster vaccinations, more than 90 per cent of over-70s and 86 per cent of over-50s in England have now received their booster. This added protection is making a difference, and we continue to see falling numbers of infections, hospitalisations, and deaths.
The UK was the first major European economy and first G20 member to vaccinate 50% of its population with at least one dose, and to provide boosters to 50% of the population. I once again thank all the people involved in the rollout of the vaccination, without whom, this would not have been possible.
The UK is also leading the way on antivirals and therapeutics, with our Antivirals Task Force securing a supply of almost 5 million doses, more per head than any other country in Europe.
The efforts of everyone in the country over the past two years mean that we can now move from government regulations to personal responsibility:
- in England, there is now no legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid test. Those who test positive should avoid contact with anyone in an at risk group, including if they live in the same household.
- from the 1st April, free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public will end. Free symptomatic tests to the oldest age groups, and those most vulnerable to COVID-19, will continue to be provided.
- a spring booster vaccine will be offered across the UK to those aged 75 and over, older care home residents, and those over 12 who are immunosuppressed.
It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.