What are the UK's Covid rules and what's changing?

NHS appeals for Covid-19 booster eligible people to come forward before June deadline

The National Health Service is withdrawing its free vaccine booster programme at the end of this month. PA
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The NHS is appealing for people who are eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccine to come forward before the deadline of June 30.

After this date, boosters will no longer be free for all.

The NHS says boosters are essential in protecting people from serious illness, hospital admission and death from Covid-19.

It says the protection offered by the initial two doses of the vaccine starts to wane after six months and a booster can help to boost immunity.

The NHS is also appealing to people who have not yet had their first or second dose of the vaccine to come forward.

It says everyone aged 12 and older should be vaccinated.

What are the Covid rules currently in place?

The NHS is continuing to urge those at increased risk from Covid-19 – such as pregnant women, those over 60 and people with weakened immune systems – to take extra precautions.

These include meeting people outside or ensuring there is good ventilation indoors, maintaining a distance of at least two metres from others, especially indoors or in crowded places, and working from home where possible.

Masks remain vital in preventing the spread of Covid-19, the NHS advises. Bloomberg

Wearing a face covering and requesting others do the same, or taking a lateral flow test before indoor meetings, are additional safeguards.

While this advice is no longer routinely publicised, the NHS emphasises its continuing relevance.

The government says legacy Covid rules will be reviewed regularly and changed if necessary.

What rules are changing?

If you test positive for Covid-19, you will no longer be contacted automatically by the NHS about potential treatments.

Instead, you will need to contact your GP practice, NHS 111 or your hospital specialist to discuss treatment.

Lateral flow tests are still recommended to help detect Covid-19. PA

Previously, the NHS would have initiated contact after a positive test but from June 27 this will no longer be the case.

The NHS recommends keeping lateral flow test kits at home and using them only when symptoms are present. The tests can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets.

A change in the way tests are accessed will come into effect from October 1. More information will be available on the NHS website as the date approaches.

Why have the rules changed?

On May 5, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the virus was no longer a public health emergency of international concern and not a global danger.

The WHO has said countries should continue to monitor the virus and take appropriate steps to protect their populations.

The number of cases and hospital admissions has also declined significantly in the UK.

This is due to factors such as vaccination, natural immunity that has developed among the population and the Omicron variant being less severe than previous Covid strains.

What should people do?

The NHS is advising people to get vaccinated and boosted to protect themselves before the deadline.

They are also advised to follow the legacy Covid rules – still in place because the virus remains a threat – to help protect others.

Updated: June 08, 2023, 11:24 AM