Prime Minister confirms masks will be mandatory again as new Covid variant enters UK

Boris Johnson has announced a series of stricter Covid measures in the face of the new ‘Omicron’ variant.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 8:38 pm

The Prime Minister this evening (November 27) confirmed that masks would once again be mandatory in shops and on public transport after cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid were discovered in the UK.

On the Prime Minister’s official Twitter account it says: “New Covid variant: Prime Minister confirms masks will be compulsory in shops and on public transport again.”

And he clarified that hospitality settings such as pubs and restaurants would not be included in the mandatory mask rule at the moment.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Saturday November 27, 2021.

The measures will be reviewed in three weeks.

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Johnson also tightened up restrictions and travellers entering the UK, and warned the new variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

He told a Downing Street press conference: “We’re not going to stop people travelling, I want to stress that, we’re not going to stop people travelling, but we will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result.

“Second, we need to slow down the spread of this variant here in the UK, because measures at the border can only ever minimise and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it all together.

“We will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of Omicron to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status."

Two cases of the Omnicron variant have been confirmed in the UK – in Brentwood and Nottingham.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine, Imperial College London, said: “There is no need to get alarmed, but we do need to be prepared and to take rapid action.

“It is better to act fast but be prepared to change as new information comes in. Travel restrictions may slow the rate of growth and buy time to establish the important facts about severity, immune evasion, transmission and susceptibility to treatment and prevention.

“With or without this new variant, Delta is already a crisis in many parts of Europe and still causing a lot of illness and death in the UK, especially in those not vaccinated or in those who do not respond to vaccines.”