End of self isolation

How will the end of Covid rules in England affect your practice?

Didn't find your answer?

As part of the government's 'living with Covid' plan, the Prime Minister has announced that from Thursday people with a positive Covid test will no longer need to self-isolate in England. meanwhile, free testing will end from 1 April.

Now the last remaining restriction are set to end, what measures will you be taking within your firm to protect employees and clients? Will you resume normal face-to-face client meetings and telling employees to return to the office like pre-pandemic life? Or will you be double and triple checking with a client about symptoms before any arranged meetings or err of the side of caution with a continuation of a hybrid style setup?

Will today's announcement change the way you work in your practice?

Replies (41)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Feb 2022 18:17

"Elsewhere, free testing will end from 1 April."

Are you sure about that ? Boris is about what happens in England, is he not ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Richard Hattersley
By Richard Hattersley
21st Feb 2022 18:37

In retrospect, "elsewhere" was probably a bad choice of words there.

I've edited the original post for clarity.

Thanks (0)
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
21st Feb 2022 18:47

We still have large numbers of people testing positive and a very high incidence of death. I gather that means a high probability of our incubating yet another new strain.

And once we cast off our masks and throw all caution to the wind, isn't it just a matter of time before our immunities wane? I suspect the answer to your question, Richard, might depend upon whether we can all expect further jabs this spring.

Thanks (1)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Feb 2022 19:20

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

We still have large numbers of people testing positive and a very high incidence of death.

Is that in your area or in England in general?

I'm not sure it's correct to say deaths are very high - or even significantly higher than usual.

Obviously, I don't have an office any more. In rugby, on the one hand, scrums are back, putting a dozen folk in close proximity. Buses are back to their pre-Covid configuration. Strict segregation from the supporters has ended. On the other, we still do lateral flow testing at least twice a week. Remains to be seen if the RFL relax the rules further after today's announcements.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
21st Feb 2022 22:49

Well England generally - I guess our number of cases won't rise too badly here down south until the Easter holidaymakers invade us. English cases may be falling in number but they remain comparatively high, still up there in the tens of thousands daily.

I'm not sure the RFL would want to relax their rules to the extent of doing away with compulsory isolation periods; wouldn't there be an acute danger of a single case knocking out both sides' entire packs / dressing rooms / busloads of travelling supporters? And yet that's what Boris has planned for the rest of us.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2022 09:54

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

I'm not sure the RFL would want to relax their rules to the extent of doing away with compulsory isolation periods; wouldn't there be an acute danger of a single case knocking out both sides' entire packs / dressing rooms / busloads of travelling supporters?

Everyone's been tested and that's what we seem to be relying on.

After Boris has taken away the free tests, it'll be interesting to see whether that changes.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Calculatorboy
21st Feb 2022 21:19

It is not accurate to say large numbers of deaths, that is a huge exaggeration,
I guess people like to think they are living in important times thats why they exaggerate ..truth is far from that ..

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Cylhia66
22nd Feb 2022 07:49

"very high incidence of death."

Why would you say such a thing? There is nothing abnormal with the number of deaths lately. If you compare to previous years, you'll see.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Cylhia66:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Feb 2022 11:04

Cylhia66 wrote:

"very high incidence of death."

Why would you say such a thing?

1,005 deaths in the last 7 days; 309,620 new cases.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Both figures are down by around 20% on their corresponding previous 7 days' figures. But, the incidence of death evidently still remains at its same height; it's presently 1 in 307 and has actually increased from 1,243 / 388,877 = 1 in 312 for the preceding 7 days.

I know there are time lags to factor in, but nevertheless still a high incidence when comparing like with like.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By rmillaree
22nd Feb 2022 11:26

"But, the incidence of death evidently still remains at its same height; it's presently 1 in 307 and has actually increased from 1,243 / 388,877 = 1 in 312 for the preceding 7 days."

If you look at this graph its abundantly clear death rate is way down from peak levels possibly trending close to perhaps 90% down from prior highs.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths?areaType=overview&areaNam...

Thanks (0)
Replying to rmillaree:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Feb 2022 22:37

If you ignore the two peaks - both the initial spring 2020 and early 2021 peaks alike - then the present death incidence on the graph you've pointed us to is as high now as it's ever been. Higher, even. Those two formative peaks, excepted, that is.

We're about to enter a third peak, casting away masks and all caution to the wind, and what the graph indicates to yours truly is that this third peak will be starting from a much higher *baseline than the first two peaks. I'm sticking to my guns: the death incidence is still relatively high. Too high, perhaps? Time will tell.

*For baseline, read higher starting incidence (of deaths).

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Feb 2022 08:07

Twin Peaks has always been confusing.

Thanks (1)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By rmillaree
23rd Feb 2022 08:12

The thing is that the covid issue is about the peaks - without the peaks we are simply into bad flu season pretty much - pretty sure we wouldnt be commenting on similar levels of deatsh due to bad flu season. You have to look at the average death rate age to get the full picture of what is happening here - for the average age to be as high as it is there is a big element of nature taking its course here. Other than old people and non vaccinated your chances of dying from covid now are very small and diminishing with each top up dose we get - probably well below car accident or similar for under 50 i would guess.

Ref third peak your comments are unfortunatley living up to your name here - you seem to be completely missing the point we are in the tail end of the third and by far the biggest peak now - the current omicron peak is at levels of magniture higher than either of the first 2 peaks - the most reliable tracker of cases the zoe symptom tracker confirms we currently have orders of magnitudes more cases now than in either of the first 2 peaks - how on earth can you say thats not a peak ??. The reality is the vaccines - prior imuunity - less sevre strain and improving medical solutions have ensured that proportionately speaking you are much less likely to die getting covid now that in either of the first 2 peaks on lfl basis. The current level of cases is "worst case scenario" based on prior estimates and yet deaths probably at best case scenario - thats a situation we should be thankful for imho.

Best measure of current cases compared to historical IMHO is the zoe tracker data here.

https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/covid-peaks-for-second-time-this-year

" I'm sticking to my guns: the death incidence is still relatively high. Too high, perhaps? Time will tell.
"
Fair play what you call high and i call high can be different measures - any death is bad news and i was hoping we would be at lower levels now but the reality is cases are at record highs oreders of magnitude above prior levls and deaths are at the same time trending down 90% from peak and you cannot not expect that bods well into their 80's 90's and 100's will not be knocked out by stuff like this when they have other severe ailments too - i see you totally ignore the point about the age profile here. With regard to deaths being too high - my opinion is that omicron spreads so fast its impossible to protect most of the population unfortunately - even super cautious counries like aus have given up now trying to lock up everyone to avoid the inevitable.

I would agree the future is uncertain but i am sticking to positive outlook going forward.

Thanks (0)
Replying to rmillaree:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Feb 2022 14:08

rmillaree wrote:

Other than old people and non vaccinated your chances of dying from covid now are very small and diminishing with each top up dose we get...

That's all very well for you to say, but yours truly is one of those "old people".

rmillaree wrote:

...probably well below car accident or similar for under 50 i would guess.

Well below car accident or similar for us over 50s too, but only because we drive so atrociously ;-)

rmillaree wrote:

Ref third peak your comments are unfortunatley living up to your name here - you seem to be completely missing the point we are in the tail end of the third and by far the biggest peak now...

I see us as being in the middle of the third peak. Referring to the second peak on your graph, there's a fall circa December 2020 whereafter the line resumes its upward trend (and indeed spikes for a few months) following relaxation of the rules over the Christmas season. That's where I see us now, experiencing a temporary fall similar to that of December 2020; and about to spike during the forthcoming months as covid safety-measures are abandoned.

In short, the same pattern as before if covid measures are totally relaxed; I actually agree with you that we would be at the end of the third peak if we were to maintain current measures. Your link again:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths?areaType=overview&areaNam...

rmillaree wrote:

Fair play what you call high and i call high can be different measures...

Well yes, but surely we're kicking off from a higher baseline of cases and deaths than last time round. And I can see why you'd not be bothered by that if you're convinced the downward trend of both will continuity. I believe both are likely to rise after we lift the measures.

rmillaree wrote:

I would agree the future is uncertain but i am sticking to positive outlook going forward.

I just hope for the best. I guess I'll be the only chump wearing a mask in Sainsburys!

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By AndyC555
22nd Feb 2022 12:02

Here's the thing. Those are deaths WITH covid, not necessarily OF Covid.

We currently have a strain that's more easily transmissible. So more people have it. So more people who die will have it.

Imagine a virus we ALL had but had no symptoms and no effect. There would still be thousands dying WITH it.

More relevant is whether there are excess 'all deaths'.

In the week ending 11th February 2022, 11,558 deaths were registered in England and Wales. This is 1,032 FEWER than the 5 year average (which uses 2015-2019 deaths as a 'pre-Covid' comparison). (source ONS).

FEWER people are currently dying than in previous (even pre-Covid) years (this has been the case for the past few weeks)

So before alarmist statements about how high the deaths are, it might not be a bad idea to look a little into the numbers.

Thanks (1)
Replying to AndyC555:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Feb 2022 14:56

AndyC555 wrote:

FEWER people are currently dying than in previous (even pre-Covid) years (this has been the case for the past few weeks)

So before alarmist statements about how high the deaths are, it might not be a bad idea to look a little into the numbers.

When I said a high number of covid cases and a high incidence of covid deaths that for me could only mean relative to earlier numbers of covid-related cases and deaths.

I daresay fewer people died of flu this winter thanks to lock-down; just as, no doubt, fewer will have died on the roads last spring when travelling restrictions were being enforced.

But surely covid restrictions and their easing must be decided upon covid-related case figures alone, not on the number of flu-related deaths, motor accident deaths, or any other deaths that are avoided as a result of people being locked-down. Once you go down the road of netting off lives that have been indirectly saved then you must surely factor in the number of lives indirectly lost eg for lack of hospital facilities.

If you lift covid restrictions prematurely then you'll have people in hospital and/or dying not only with covid but also with flu (not to mention everything else). Cancer patients wouldn't be able to get a look in.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By rmillaree
22nd Feb 2022 08:34

"We still have large numbers of people testing positive and a very high incidence of death."
One thing with the deaths is that the average age of death from covid i think is currently 82.5 - which is higher than the average age of death in this country.
The mast majority of these cases also have numerous other co morbitites.

Without being brutal here in the non old vaccinated poulation at whole i would say now the incidence of death is anything but "very high". I would say its statistically very low.

Don't want this to drift into covid does this and covid does that thread but compared to the start of the pandemic on any sort of lfl basis we are in a much stronger poosition than we were - i think 97% of peeps have some sort of immunity when this level was practicably speaking probably at nil 18 months ago. Plenty of experts say T cell reponse could last many years as evidenced by reponse to mars and sers.

None of the above is not to say the death of anyone with covid is tragic - and i am not doubting the realness of every person who has a covid related ilness that may make them end up in hospital.

Finally ref new strains they are bound to show up and you are 100% right that the next new strain may be an issue and could much worse - probably less likely than more likely though according to the experts - its easy enough to go back into lockdown if needs be but i am trying to remain glass half full here rather than worry about what might be.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By David Ex
21st Feb 2022 20:53

To some extent, there has been a de facto end to restrictions for some time, I reckon. I also suspect some people have been infected but only had mild symptoms and either wilfully or in ignorance have carried on without isolating. I also would guess infection rates are understated for similar reasons.

The few traditional ‘office based’ employers I’ve heard about have been having a day or two a week in and the rest of the time home working. I think that’s because it suits the (generally older and experienced) people making the decision. Younger and less experienced staff obviously have the same commute saving but probably miss out working with and learning from other people. They may also not have decent working space at home.

Thanks (0)
By williams lester accountants
21st Feb 2022 20:55

At some point we have to just get on. We are based in wales, but have been in Windsor last 2 days and it is a relief to see hardly a mask in sight and everyone just getting back to normal.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By Calculatorboy
21st Feb 2022 21:14

It won't make any difference,we saw clients throughout, got everyone to sign disclaimer (witnessed) before we met

..no one died ..and in fact fewer cases of colds and influenza in the office

Just feel it was a bit of an expensive damp squib

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Matrix
22nd Feb 2022 07:05

We are going completely online so meetings will be booked on Zoom/Teams/phone calls.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Matrix:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2022 07:21

Matrix wrote:

We are going completely online so meetings will be booked on Zoom/Teams/phone calls.

Do you not like people?

Is this just for work or will it extend to your family too?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By Matrix
22nd Feb 2022 07:27

I have found my practice much more efficient since we had no face to face meetings, although I don’t mind people, I am pretty personable for a tax bod. Spend plenty of time with family.

Equally happy not to meet clients, I have some local ones who signed up before the pandemic who I have never met (not my choice at the time).

So will see how it goes.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Matrix:
avatar
By Catherine Newman
22nd Feb 2022 08:53

I am having one today but I am trying to avoid them and have only had about 10 since Covid broke out. It has given me far more time not having meetings. I have always worked from home so my practice won't change.

I am actively trying to go paperless having bought a portable scanner and printer to save me endlessly looking for that one document. Even village notices that come through the letterbox are now scanned.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Matrix:
avatar
By Catherine Newman
22nd Feb 2022 08:57

I am having one today but I am trying to avoid them and have only had about 10 since Covid broke out. It has given me far more time not having meetings. I have always worked from home so my practice won't change.

I am actively trying to go paperless having bought a portable scanner and printer to save me endlessly looking for that one document. Even village notices that come through the letterbox are now scanned.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Catherine Newman:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
22nd Feb 2022 09:49

"Even village notices that come through the letterbox are now scanned" ... ah, the joys and enthusiasm that a new toy brings.
I guess the cat better not wander within reach! :=)

Thanks (2)
Replying to Matrix:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2022 09:55

Matrix wrote:

I have found my practice much more efficient since we had no face to face meetings, although I don’t mind people, I am pretty personable for a tax bod. Spend plenty of time with family.

Equally happy not to meet clients, I have some local ones who signed up before the pandemic who I have never met (not my choice at the time).

So will see how it goes.

Takes all sorts .....

Thanks (0)
avatar
By mbee1
22nd Feb 2022 08:17

No face to face meetings here and no return to the office generally. Admin staff go in on a rota but all other staff working fully from home and that's how it will stay. No clients have complained about lack of face to face and happy with a phone call or a Teams/Zoom meeting. Any books dropped off at the office by prior appointment only.

Personally, I shall continue to wear a mask in shops and on the occasions I use public transport. It is far from over and these relaxation of the rules are just to satisfy the right wing of the party and try and put Partygate to the back of peoples minds!

Thanks (4)
Caroline
By accountantccole
22nd Feb 2022 08:20

Glad I live in France ......
Although was pleasantly surprised at the level of mask wearing still in place when visiting UK clients last week. Only client not wearing a mask works from home.

Thanks (0)
Replying to accountantccole:
avatar
By Cylhia66
22nd Feb 2022 14:10

Are you sure you are glad to live in France? A country where you can lose your job if you don't want to be jabbed. I live in the UK but I'm French and personally I find this shocking :-(

Thanks (0)
Replying to Cylhia66:
Caroline
By accountantccole
22nd Feb 2022 17:13

Yep. Generally the policies have made more sense than Boris's mish mash.
Torn on obligatory vaccinations but can understand the logic behind it. It is mandatory not to drink and drive so you don't risk injuring others, don't have an issue with that policy either.

Thanks (0)
Replying to accountantccole:
avatar
By Cylhia66
22nd Feb 2022 17:27

This comparison would work if by getting vaccinated you protected others. However that's not the case (as proven by the big wave of Omicron in countries where levels of vaccination among the population were high). Therefore the "logic" fails.

Thanks (0)
By SteveHa
22nd Feb 2022 08:44

Boris said it. Ergo, it's probably a lie.

Thanks (7)
Replying to SteveHa:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2022 17:46

SteveHa wrote:

Boris said it. Ergo, it's probably a lie.

Why only "probably"?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By SteveHa
23rd Feb 2022 15:29

I have no conclusive evidence - so I must rely on conjecture at this time. Maybe Sue Grey or the Met can come up with something more concrete.

Thanks (0)
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Feb 2022 10:15

The big question for any employer is that in the absence of government guidance what ought a reasonable employer do, quasi reliance on saying national policy was followed in a workplace goes and employers now have to write and follow risk assessments with no external guiding hand to suggest whether, at any point in time, they have got it right or not.

In effect it is to some extent another "[***] business" moment as each business tries to ensure they have not left themselves vulnerable to litigation from both customers and staff.

E.g. Employer policy now if a member of staff gets covid but wants to continue working, if told they cannot come in to the office what is position re liability to pay their wages in full if employer takes such a stance to protect other employees.

From our point of view we still await Scottish Government announcements, but notwithstanding I suspect we will certainly continue to run office as we have for a while (barrier across entrance with video entry/masks for non staff entering/ four of us trying to avoid one another (not difficult in 2,000 sq ft etc)

Edit- Getting yourself on the mailing list from a few solicitors and insurance brokers might be a cheap way of keeping up to speed re "best acceptable" standards re workplaces and staff. As we use a few different solicitors we have got ourselves on the subscribed list for three of them which means their employment etc information sheets fill my inbox on a regular basis, it is just finding the time to read everything.

Thanks (1)
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
22nd Feb 2022 10:33

It's only right and reasonable that all COVID restrictions are scrapped. After all, we're now moving into our WW3 era. Face masks and social distancing won't save us from a Satan-2 missile.

What a time to be alive!

Thanks (2)
Replying to Lone_Wolf:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Feb 2022 10:41

Lone_Wolf wrote:

What a time to be alive!

Better make the most of it.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By bendybod
22nd Feb 2022 10:36

We've been back in the office since April and there was a general consensus that that was what people wanted to do.

Only two of us out of around 11 have contracted Covid and in both cases did not spread it to anyone else in the office.

We've had meetings with clients and have left it to them to decide (since the restrictions were relaxed), once they're in the meeting room, whether they wish to wear masks or not. If they have asked us to then we have done. Equally, when I've asked a client to then they have not had an issue with that, other than one who was exempt. I think the key is respect for other people's situations and preferences and a healthy dose of common sense and good hygiene.

Thanks (2)
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Feb 2022 12:24

Obviously, there'll be a lot fewer reported cases once free testing ends.

Thanks (2)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Feb 2022 12:38

That is likely already the case, the drop in cases reported seems to fit quite well the number of tests being done, if the graphs last night on Sky tv are accurate and correct.

Their suggestion, from other sources , was that 1 in 20 are currently infected.

Thanks (1)