Editor: No great suprise but it’s time to stick together again
The snow and storm proved far more effective at getting us to stay home and stay safe, but the prime minster has now said what we must do in the coming weeks.
On Saturday evening, Boris Johnson 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.
And he clarified that hospitality settings such as pubs and restaurants would not be included in the mask rule at the moment.
The measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
The PM 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 omicron variant have been confirmed in the UK – in Brentwood and Nottingham.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told families to plan for Christmas ‘as normal’ despite new rules to combat omicron. He said it was ‘nowhere near’ time to reintroduce social distancing rules and work-from-home guidance.
All contacts with a suspected case of omicron will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status, amid concerns that existing jabs will be less effective against the strain, which is believed to spread rapidly.