February 11, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

This week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the intention to end the legal requirement for people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate before the end of the month. Meanwhile in Sweden, free COVID testing across the population is ending.

“Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive a full month early,” Johnson told Parliament earlier this week.

The UK PM will present the “living with COVID” plan on February 21, with changes expected to come into effect a few days later.

Currently those with COVID in the UK can leave self-isolation after negative rapid tests on days five and six.

In the latest reporting period, more than 66,000 people tested positive for COVID and 206 deaths were recorded. To date more than 159,000 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

Meanwhile in Sweden, free COVID testing is now only available for health and aged care workers and the vulnerable.

The head of Sweden’s health agency, Karin Tegmark Wisell, told one the country’s broadcasters this week that the free testing regime was costing $76 million per week.

Rapid antigen tests are available in supermarkets in Sweden and people can pay for tests through private providers.

Those with symptoms of COVID are asked to stay home instead of getting a test.

For the events sector, it remains to be seen whether these moves will bring greater risk to staging or attending events, if other COVID containment measures are not in place. Will the risk of an event fuelled outbreak be higher? Will it mean those with underlying health conditions – and those who are older – think more carefully before committing to an event?