UK Implements New Restrictions in Response to Omicron Variant

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new precautionary measures intended to protect the UK against the newly discovered coronavirus Omicron variant.

Scientists and medical professionals around the world are currently working to better understand the potential ramifications of this new strain of the coronavirus, which may exhibit more dangerous behaviour regarding transmission and the effectiveness of existing vaccines and other treatments. With that in mind, the UK has announced the following restrictions:

  • All international travellers will be required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on their second day after arriving in the UK. Travellers will be required to self-isolate until a negative result is achieved.
  • Anyone—regardless of vaccination status—who may have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate.
  • Face coverings will be made compulsory for anyone visiting shops and using public transport, with the exception of hospitality settings.

As of 28th November, three cases of the Omicron variant have been discovered in the UK. The first two were identified in Essex and Nottingham, with the third being an individual who is no longer in the UK but is believed to have visited Westminster in London.

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa. It contains a large number of spike protein mutations and mutations in other parts of the viral genome. Although the relationship between the Omicron variant and current vaccines must be further explored, experts believe that vaccination is still the public’s best defence.

Sixteen million people in the UK have already received their booster jabs. The Health Secretary has requested that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation consider a rapid extension of boosters. Furthermore, the time gap between the second dose of a vaccine and an eventual booster may be decreased.

In addition to the aforementioned restrictions, the following countries have been added to the UK’s travel red list:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Lesostho
  • Eswatini
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Angola
  • Malawi

The UK Health Security Agency will continue to monitor the Omicron variant and work with other health authorities around the world. Click here for the latest government information and guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

UK Announces New Coronavirus Omicron Variant Restrictions

As of 28th November, three cases of the new coronavirus Omicron variant have been detected in the UK. As the UK Health Security Agency and other medical authorities around the world gather information on this new variant of the coronavirus, the government has introduced new restrictions to limit its potential spread. This video outlines these rules.

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