What are the lockdown restrictions across the UK?

·8 min read

Life will almost be back to normal in Scotland as of next Monday when remaining restrictions on social gatherings and physical distancing are eased.

The majority of Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted from the UK’s four countries, but certain safeguards still remain.

Here’s what you need to know.

– What is the picture in Scotland?

From next Monday, restrictions on physical distancing and limits to size of social gatherings will be lifted, allowing large-scale events to take place.

No venues will be legally required to remain closed, meaning nightclubs can now reopen. But life will not quite be as it was pre-pandemic.

Contact tracing of positive cases will remain, pubs and restaurants must continue to collect customer details and home working will continue to be advised.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that her Government was carefully considering some kind of “Covid-19 status certification” as a condition of access to certain higher risk venues in future.

Coronavirus – Tue Aug 3, 2021
Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement about lockdown easing at a virtual meeting of MSPs (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said an app was being developed to allow for this kind of certification for those travelling abroad, but that it would also allow for vaccine certification domestically.

Under the new rules, close contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 will no longer be required to automatically self-isolate for 10 days.

Instead, those who have at least two weeks since their last dose will be able to take a PCR test that would allow them to bypass self-isolation if they test negative.

Coronavirus – Wed Nov 25, 2020
Testing is still key to international travel (Lesley Martin/Edinburgh Airport)

Young people under the age of 17 will also be able to end self-isolation if they test negative, while those under five years old will be “encouraged”, but not required, to take a test.

As a result of the changes, blanket self-isolations for whole school classes will no longer be required.

But face masks will have to be worn during lessons by secondary pupils and one-metre social distancing for staff will be retained for at least six weeks once schools reopen after the summer holidays.

Secondary pupils and school staff in Scotland will also be asked to take a lateral flow test before they return.

As of last Monday, those who have had both vaccines are not required to isolate after returning from an amber country, but will still need proof of a negative PCR test before departure and must take a test on day two of arrival.

All those returning from a red list country must self-isolate for 10 days in a hotel, and must book a “quarantine package” that includes two PCS tests.

People arriving from green list countries must still complete a passenger locator form, have proof of a negative test before departure and book a PCR test for day two after their arrival.

– What about England?

All legal restrictions were lifted in England from July 19, including the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor settings.

But the Government has asked the public to exercise caution, with a recommendation that masks should still be used in crowded and enclosed spaces.

A number of transport networks still require face coverings as a condition of passage, including Transport for London, the Metro in the North East and Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram service.

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Commuters are still required to wear masks on some transport networks (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

All legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors have been scrapped and all businesses can reopen, including nightclubs having been closed since March 2020.

The Government is recommending that businesses use “certification” as a basis of entry to venues deemed “high risk”, especially when prevalence of coronavirus is as high as it is currently.

People can attend concerts, theatre and sports events and the one-metre-plus rule on social distancing has ended.

The instruction to work from home has been scrapped, although ministers are encouraging firms to implement a gradual return to the office, and the limit on named visitors to care homes will be lifted.

From August 16, those who have allowed their second jab a fortnight to take effect and all under-18s will not have to self-isolate if they come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19 and will instead be advised to take a PCR test. If the result is negative, they will not need to isolate or take another test.

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London’s theatre land has reopened after months of closure (John Walton/PA)

The Government is also amending the app so that fewer people get “pinged” – instead of checking contacts for five days before a positive test, the app will only go back two days.

But travel is still restricted, with residents of England advised not to travel to red list countries. Those who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival from an amber list country, and take a PCR test on day two and day eight.

But things are easier for those who have had both vaccines – they are not required to isolate after returning from an amber country, and only need take a PCR test on day two of their arrival.

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Travel is easier for those who have had two jabs (Peter Byrne/PA)

The same rules apply to those who are under the age of 18 regardless of their vaccination status. The exception is France, with fully-vaccinated travellers returning to England still required to quarantine.

Anyone returning from a green list country need only have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travel, fill in a passenger locator form and take a test on day two after arrival.

Children under four are exempt from testing.

– What is the situation in Wales?

As of August 7, almost all coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in Wales, but the wearing of face masks will remain compulsory on public transport and in most indoor settings.

Some rules were eased on July 17 as the country moved into alert Level 1 – after a four-week delay due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Up to six people can now meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation, while organised indoor events will be able to take place with up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing, and ice rinks can reopen.

There are also now no limits on how many people can meet outdoors, in public places or at events.

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Face masks are still need in many indoor spaces in Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Everyone aged 11 and over must still wear face coverings in all indoor public places unless exceptions apply.

If easing goes ahead as planned on Saturday, fully vaccinated adults, those under 18 and vaccine trial participants will not need to self-isolate if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus.

But travel restrictions remain tight – those arriving from a red list country will be denied entry, and instead must enter the UK through either England or Scotland and self-isolate for 10 days first.

Travellers must also complete a passenger locator form and provide proof of a negative test.

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People who have travelled to red list countries are not allowed to enter Wales (Liam McBurney/PA)

Fully vaccinated people arriving from amber list countries must complete a passenger locator form and provide a a pre-departure test and a test two days after arrival, while unvaccinated people still need to isolate for 10 days.

Again, all those arriving from France regardless of vaccination status must self-isolate.

Those arriving from green list countries must have proof of a negative test before departure, complete a passenger locator form, with everyone aged five and above taking a test on or before day two of arrival.

– And Northern Ireland?

As of last Monday, up to six people from Northern Ireland can mingle indoors, while up to 15 people can meet in a garden and outdoor gatherings in public of up to 30 people do not require a risk assessment.

All outdoor sport and indoor sport is permitted, leisure centres can reopen and group exercise classes can take place.

Theatres and concert halls can welcome back audiences, as long as tickets are pre-booked and attendees stick to their designated seats, while conferences and exhibitions can resume.

Coronavirus – Mon Jul 26, 2021
Restrictions are slowly starting to ease in Northern Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

But face masks must still be worn in all indoor visitor attractions and shops, and wedding venues must conduct a risk assessment to determine how many guests can safely attend.

Guidance on red, amber and green list countries matches that of the other UK nations, with returnees required to fill out a passenger locator form, have proof of a negative test and take a test on either day two or both day two and day eight after arrival.

People returning from amber list countries who have been fully vaccinated in the UK will not have to self-isolate on arrival in Northern Ireland or take a test eight days after their return.

Those arriving from red list countries need to complete hotel quarantine for 10 days.

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