Rules to tackle Covid-19 in England are to loosen after other nations in the UK already announced the lifting of some restrictions.

Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday more than 90% of over-60s across the UK have now had booster vaccines, with England set to treat the virus like flu.

But how do the current rules compare across the four nations of the UK?

Prime Minister’s Questions
Boris Johnson announced the changes on Wednesday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– What are the rules in England?

Currently, face coverings are compulsory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport, and people have been told to work from home if they can.

Secondary school pupils also must wear masks in classrooms.

Covid passes are required for entry into nightclubs and other venues.

If a person in England has tested positive or has symptoms, they can stop self-isolating after seven days instead of 10 if they receive two negative lateral flow test results on days six and seven.

Those who are unvaccinated close contacts of positive cases must still isolate for 10 days.

Coronavirus – Fri Nov 26, 2021
School pupils have had to wear masks in classrooms (Brian Lawless/PA)

Fully vaccinated travellers are required to take a lateral flow test, rather than a PCR test, no later than the end of day two after their arrival.

– What is changing?

Plan B measures are to be dropped across England.

Guidance asking people to work from home has been lifted immediately, and from Thursday next week mandatory Covid passes will end.

From next Thursday, people will no longer need to wear face masks.

Face coverings will also be scrapped in classrooms from tomorrow, with school communal areas to follow.

Coronavirus – Tue Nov 30, 2021
Masks will no longer be needed in shops from Thursday next week (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Johnson said: “In the country at large, we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”

The legal requirement for people with coronavirus to self-isolate will also be allowed to end when the regulations expire on March 24.

– What’s happening in Scotland?

Nightclub closures and the requirement for table service in hospitality will come to an end.

Attendance limits on indoor events and the guidance asking people to stick to a three-household limit on indoor gatherings will also be lifted.

The wearing of face coverings in public indoor settings and on public transport, as well as working from home whenever possible, will remain.

Nicola Sturgeon visit to Windhoist
Nicola Sturgeon has announced new rules in Scotland (Andy Buchanan/PA)

Scots also need to have a booster – within four months of their second jab – to be considered fully vaccinated.

Those coming into the country who are fully vaccinated are able to use a lateral flow test instead of a PCR as their post-arrival test, taken on or before the second day of their stay.

– What about Wales?

Wales will begin a phased lifting of restrictions from Friday.

There will be no limits on the numbers of people able to attend outdoor events and outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without table service.

A week later, attendance limits on indoor events will be lifted, including nightclubs, cinemas, and theatres.

Covid passes will be needed for larger events.

Coronavirus – Sun Dec 26 2021
Face coverings will remain in place in Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

The rule of six and work from home order will also be lifted, but employers must show that they are taking reasonable measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Face coverings on public transport and in public indoor settings, as well as self-isolating after travelling from abroad, will stay.

The mandatory isolation period for people who test positive with Covid-19 is seven, subject to two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

And, like in England, confirmatory PCR tests for asymptomatic people who test positive on a lateral flow device are no longer needed.

Fully vaccinated travellers need to take a lateral flow test on day two and, if positive, a follow-up PCR test to enable genomic sequencing should be carried out.

– What about Northern Ireland?

Nightclubs in Northern Ireland are closed and dancing has been prohibited in hospitality venues except for at weddings.

People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers are limited to six and two-metre social distancing rules are in place in all businesses.

A young woman in Belfast puts on her face covering as she walks past a Covid-19 safety message from Belfast City Council
A young woman puts on her face covering as she walks past a Covid-19 safety message from Belfast City Council (Liam McBurney/PA)

The self-isolation period for confirmed Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland is also seven days, subject to negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

Northern Irish ministers have also agreed that sporting events can continue with no limits on capacity.

The work-from-home message is being bolstered with legislation requiring social distancing in offices and similar workplaces.

The guidance for mixing in a domestic setting is limited to three households.

Face masks must be worn in shops, indoor-seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport, and some other settings. Pupils who are post primary school and teachers must also wear them inside buildings.

Fully vaccinated travellers can also do a lateral flow test rather than a PCR test on day two or before day two after their arrival in Northern Ireland.