COVID19: Govt imposes new restrictions in response to Omicron variant

Masks have once again been made mandatory in shops and on public transport, as the government responds to the arrival in the UK of a new COVID variant, Omicron. In place from this week, the new measures will not apply to any hospitality setting.

Early indications suggest this latest variant of concern may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that current vaccines may be less effective against it.

The World Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution was convened on Friday to assess the latest variant of concern, which was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24th November.

Travel restrictions have been implemented in the UK in an attempt to slow the spread of the variant, two cases of which have so far beeen identified in the UK (in Essex and Nottingham).

South Africa, Botswana, Lesostho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibi, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola were added to the UK’s travel red list on Sunday 28th November.

From this week, all new arrivals to the UK must also take a Day 2 PCR test, and self-isolate until they receive a negative test.

The number of people in the UK testing positive for COVID in the last seven days was up 6.4%.

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