PEOPLE with Covid-19 should still self-isolate despite the UK Government dropping the legal requirement to do so, England’s chief medical officer has said.

Professor Chris Whitty warned the Omicron wave was “still high” as he urged those with Covid to stay at home.

At a Downing Street press conference after the Prime Minister announced England would end all remaining Covid restrictions on Thursday and scrap free tests for most from April 1, Prof Whitty noted the importance of maximising ventilation, hand washing and using face masks.

READ MORE: 'No evidence' to support Boris Johnson's Living with Covid plan, says Robertson

He said: “As we look at the next weeks, we still have high rates of Omicron and I would urge people in terms of public health advice, and this is very much the Government’s position, that people should still if they have Covid try to prevent other people getting it and that means self-isolating.”

Boris Johnson announced the end to the legal self-isolation requirement today as part of the Government’s “Living With Covid” strategy.

This, along with the end of widespread free testing, has been widely criticised by public health experts, who say the UK Government is moving too fast. 

And Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, told the news conference it was essential to maintain a virus surveillance system, the capacity to “ramp up” measures again quickly and to protect the vulnerable.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson scraps ALL Covid restrictions in England as self-isolation ended

“This pandemic is not over. The virus is continuing to evolve. It will continue to do so quite fast probably for the next couple of years,” he said.

“There is no guarantee that the next variant is as reduced severity as Omicron. As it evolves what it is trying to do is to transmit more readily.

“The change in severity is a random by-product. We expect there to be further variants and they could be more severe.”

The end to free tests in England will mean the Scottish Government will need to find the funding for them from somewhere else in its fixed budget.

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, spoke out against the announcement in the Commons, calling the decisions “bereft of science or consultation”.

He added: “The illogical reality of UK finance means that these decisions made for England by a failing Prime Minister affect the money the devolved nations have to provide testing.”