Two Years of Control: New UK COVID Rules Set in Law Until March

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers Questions on November 24, 2021 in London, England. Johnson is likely to face tough questions in the House of Commons after a turbulent two weeks in the Prime Minister's leadership that saw …
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Britain’s new rules regarding self-isolation have been extended to March 2022, when the UK will mark over two years of COVID restrictions.

The UK’s recently enacted restrictions regarding close contacts of confirmed Omicron cases of the Chinese coronavirus have officially been extended into law until March of next year, despite the fact the government had promised to review the measure by December 20th.

The legal expiration date of March 24th 2022 will almost exactly coincide with the second anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, with the date marking two years and a day since Brits were told to remain in their homes bar for activities deemed “essential”.

British newspaper The Telegraph reports even asymptomatic contacts who test negative for the virus will be obliged to self-isolate under the legislation, or face a fine of up to £10,000.

Fears have also been aired over whether the measures would kick off another “pingdemic“, with a similar measure implemented earlier in the year resulting in healthy people being forced to self-isolate for long periods of time as a result of coming in close contact with an infected person, keeping people away from their jobs, education, and other activities.

“We are not just looking at a pingdemic in our economy and in our businesses. We are looking at a pingdemic that will devastate education again,” warned Steve Brine, a Conservative MP and former health minister.

Others questioned why the law would be staying on the books for so long, considering that the government has promised to review measures in the coming weeks.

“The self-isolation statutory instrument has no expiry day, which means it will run all the way until the main statutory instrument expires on March 24 2022. Why is that?” asked the head of the Lockdown-sceptic COVID Recovery Group in the Parliament, Mark Harper MP.

In response, Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup promised that the regulations would not remain law “any longer” than needed, but admitted that Harper had made a “good point”.

Even some within the government reportedly have doubts over why the legislation will take so long to expire

“I haven’t found a good reason for it, I was slightly surprised by that. It seems another sign of the Department for Health unnecessarily losing trust and goodwill with backbenchers,” one government insider is alleged to have told The Telegraph.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has also implemented a number of other measures, ostensibly to limit the spread of the Omicron variant. After two cases of the new variant were discovered on Saturday, the government reimposed mask-wearing requirements for shops and public transport, with those caught maskless facing fines of £200, increasing to a maximum of £6,400 for repeated violations.

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