What are the plans for changing Covid rules across the UK’s nations?

The UK’s nations are expected to further lift coronavirus restrictions in the coming weeks.

In recent days political leaders have set out their plans for how measures will be eased.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at when rules are set to change across the four nations:

– What is the situation in Wales?

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed on Wednesday that almost all coronavirus restrictions in Wales will be lifted on August 7, but said the wearing of face masks would remain compulsory on public transport and in most indoor settings.

From July 17 some rules will be eased as the country moves into alert Level 1 – after a four-week delay due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Up to six people will be able to meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation as of Saturday, 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.

If the alert level gets downgraded next month, all premises will be able to open and most restrictions will be removed and replaced with the ongoing requirement for all organisations and businesses to carry out Covid risk assessments.

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– What about England?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that all remaining legal restrictions will be lifted in England from July 19, including the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor settings.

But London mayor Sadiq Khan said face coverings would still be compulsory on the capital’s transport network once the national restrictions end on Monday. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has backed Mr Khan’s move.

The Government has called for the public to exercise caution on July 19, with a recommendation that masks should still be used in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Other elected Labour mayors across the country have called on the Government to continue to mandate face coverings on public transport beyond Monday and will use their limited powers to require local usage.

People in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire will have to continue wearing face coverings in bus stations operated by the combined authorities, while passengers using the Metro in the North East and Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram services will also be required to wear them.

From next Monday, all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be scrapped and all businesses will reopen, including nightclubs – for the first time 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 high as it is currently.

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

The instruction to work from home will be 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.

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In a move towards restarting international travel, children and adults who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus will not have to quarantine on their return from amber list countries to England from July 19.

The Spanish islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca will be added to the Government’s amber travel list from 4am on Monday due to a surge in Covid cases. The change will affect those returning to England, Scotland and Wales.

Bulgaria and Hong Kong will be added to the green list – meaning there is no requirement to isolate on return, while Croatia and Taiwan will be added to the “green watchlist” meaning they are at risk of going amber.

The British Virgin Islands will also go amber, while Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will be added to the red list requiring 10 days of isolation in a quarantine hotel.

Meanwhile, rules on 10-day self-isolation periods in England are being eased for the fully vaccinated and under-18s, but not until August 16.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

– What does the future look like for Scotland?

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the country is set to move to Level 0 of the five-tier system on Monday, but restrictions will continue on physical distancing and numbers meeting both indoors and outdoors.

The First Minister said face coverings will remain mandatory for “some time to come”, while social distancing is set to be reduced to one metre inside public places.

Indoor gathering restrictions in homes will be lifted to allow up to eight people from up to four households to meet, while a group of up to 10 can meet inside a pub or restaurant.

Some physical distancing rules are to be maintained outdoors, and the 11pm closure time for pubs operating indoors will be changed to midnight – a change from original plans to scrap the limit entirely.

The planned “gradual return to the office” will also be postponed until August 9, when Scotland plans to move beyond Level 0.

Members of the public enjoy a drink and a meal in Belfast
Members of the public enjoy a drink and a meal in Belfast (Mark Marlow/PA)

– And Northern Ireland?

A further wave of coronavirus relaxations will come into effect on July 26, including the end of social distancing requirements for outdoor activities and a reduction of the distance to one metre for indoor settings.

From that date, 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.

Some measures, such as theatres and concert halls being allowed to welcome back audiences and conferences and exhibitions being able to resume, need final ratification by Stormont ministers on July 22.

Under the plans, a limit on gatherings in private homes would increase from six to 10, from no more than three households, while 15 people from any number of households can meet in a private garden.

The legal requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship is also set to be removed on July 26, and in terms of schools, classroom bubbling and the use of face masks in classes are to be removed from guidance.