BGS statement on the lifting of all COVID restrictions

18 March 2022

As UK governments move towards removing all COVID-19 restrictions, we urge the public and healthcare professionals to remember that older people remain at increased risk from COVID infection and to continue to take steps to protect those who are more vulnerable.

BGS members have a duty of care for older people and this may mean continuing to take precautions to reduce the risk of COVID infection, even when they are not mandated by the Government. This is particularly important as we are seeing rising case numbers and hospitalisations in some parts of the country.
Vaccination remains our best defence against COVID. Vaccines are available through the NHS to everyone aged 12 and over and we urge anyone who has not yet been vaccinated or who has not yet had a booster shot to do so as soon as they can. It is not too late to protect yourself and those who are more vulnerable. Later in the spring older people will be advised to have a further booster and children will be able to be vaccinated.
If someone tests positive for COVID, we would encourage them to exercise common sense and continue to self-isolate, avoiding contact with older and more vulnerable people. We also urge healthcare professionals and the public to continue to use lateral flow testing before visiting care homes and other environments with vulnerable people.
The pandemic is a global phenomenon and it will not be over for any of us until it is over for all of us. The BGS has signed up to the Vaccinate The World campaign, calling on Governments to prioritise vaccination for developing nations where vaccines have not yet been widely available. We encourage BGS members to take the actions suggested by the campaign, including signing the petition and writing to MPs.

Dr Jennifer Burns, President of the BGS, said:

As restrictions are lifted, many people are excited about getting back to life as normal and we can understand that. However, we encourage people to continue to take precautions, particularly when in contact with older people and others who may be at higher risk if they catch COVID. Those who are clinically vulnerable remain at risk of being hospitalised with COVID. After the terrible toll of the last two years, it is important to continue to take sensible steps to reduce the risk of infection."