ALL remaining Covid rules in England will be scrapped from Thursday, the Prime Minister has announced.

Boris Johnson unveiled his “Living With Covid” plan which will bring to an end Covid restrictions south of the Border.

The move has been criticised by public health experts who have questioned the wisdom of ending restrictions while case rates remain high.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson rejects expert advice in move to scrap England's Covid rules

The changes will mean people who test positive for the virus will no longer be legally required to isolate from Thursday. 

Covid tests will no longer be free for most, except for the elderly and clinically vulnerable people from April 1.

Payments for people self isolating will also end this week and from the beginning of April, the use of Covid passports will no long be recommended. 

Covid provisions for statutory sick pay will be claimable for a further month.

Johnson told the Commons on Monday afternoon that while the pandemic "is not over" he said falling levels of hospitalisations and infections meant it was time to move away from "government restrictions" to "personal responsibility".

Johnson said “targeted vaccines and treatments” will be in place for the most vulnerable, adding: “Today we’re taking further action to guard against a possible resurgence of the virus, accepting JCVI advice for a new spring booster offered to those aged 75 and older, to older care home residents and to those over 12 who are immunosuppressed.”

He added: "We don't need laws to compel people to be considerate to others.

"Let us learn to live with this virus."

Until April 1, people who test positive in England will be advised to stay home, Johnson said, but "after that we will encourage people with Covid-19 symptoms to exercise personal responsibility, just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others".

The Prime Minister signalled in the Commons that after England scraps free Covid tests in April, Holyrood will have to cough up to continue its own scheme north of the Border.

He told Ian Blackford: “Of course, if people want to continue beyond then ... then he has access to the £41 billion record settlement under Barnett and he also has access to hundreds of millions from the health care levy which he voted against.”

Ahead of Johnson’s announcement, Nicola Sturgeon warned: “To allow significant dismantling of the testing infrastructure built up in last 2 years would be inexcusable negligence given ongoing risks.”

Keir Starmer accused the Prime Minister of "ignoring" the continued threat of Covid. 

He called on the Prime Minister to publish the scientific evidence for lifting all restrictions. 

Layla Morgan, the chair of the all-parliamentary group on coronavirus said scrapping free tests would "leave us blind to new variants"

She added: "The removal of restrictions should be accompanied by vigilance, support for those who need it and a long-term plan but instead we have a mad dash to change headlines and appease the Covid sceptics of the Tory party.”

The Scottish Greens have branded the move "reckless and irresponsible". 

Gillian Mackay, the party's health spokesperson, said: "Ignoring Covid won't make it go away. 

“This choice feels far more influenced by the Prime Minister's polling rather than the science. That is no way to make a decision that impacts millions of people."

Linda Bauld, the Scottish Government’s interim chief social policy adviser, stressed the “need” for continued access to free testing.

Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland the Edinburgh University professor said: “The levels of infection in the community are still high in England, you've got one in 20, in Scotland, one in 25, and we still need the capacity to be able to identify when there is virus in the community.

“A removal of all testing means we'll be sort of driving blind into the next stage of the pandemic and that's something we want to avoid.”

She continued: “In order to pick up variants, you need to sequence a sample and we can do that through PCR tests, but if you remove testing, then you can't do that. So the key thing for me is actually surveillance.”

READ MORE: Where are Scotland's Covid cases today?

And Dr Chaand Nagpaul the chair of the British Medical Association said the decision was “rather odd”.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, he said: “We need to see case rates fall down even more – remembering that people aren’t being restricted at the moment in any severe way at all – people are living normally.”

A further 15 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to 160,610, the Government said.

These figures now include deaths in England following possible reinfections of Covid-19.

Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 183,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.