There are only three weeks to save Christmas as a series of new restrictions introduced today to quell a worrying new Covid super strain.
Millions More Britons can now get a booster vaccine, while mandatory face masks are back in stores and on public transport, and anyone going on holiday during the holiday will face PCR tests on return.
Officials are doing their best to prevent the spread of the Omicron mutation, supposedly easier to transmit than Delta. There are also concerns that it could make jabs less effective.
Eleven Cases of the variant have been reported in the UK, with two other infections appearing in London and six infections in Scotland.
Ministers say Christmas should go ahead as planned, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid telling the nation over the weekend that we are “nowhere near” a complete lock but.
But he also warning more cases expected in the coming days.
“In the race between vaccines and viruses, this variant may have given the virus extra legs,” he said.
“Our strategy is to buy time and strengthen our defenses while the scientists learn more.”
Meanwhile, Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), told Sky News have “good reason to care”.
MASK IS BACK
Warning that it would be “impossible” to stop the spread, he said the most important action Britons could take was to get a spear and put on a mask.
This variant arrived in the UK less than a week after being reported as a concern in African countries.
To boost their defenses, millions more are now eligible for the boost shot after the gap between the second and third doses were lowered from six months to three.
And the age at which people can book booster tickets has been lowered from 40 for anyone 18 or older.
It means an additional 13 million people are eligible for a third snap before the end of the year.
People aged over 50 and clinically vulnerable Britons have been able to receive boosters since September with anyone aged 40 to 49 eligible as of 15 November.
The UK’s vaccine advisory body, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) confirmed the move yesterday.
And children aged 12 to 15 will also receive a second dose of the vaccine, aimed at boosting the nation’s immunity in the face of the virus. worrisome new tension.
BOOSSTERS FOR EXPANDING
Mandatory wearing of masks is also returning in public transport and shops as of today.
Anyone without a face covering in shops or on buses, trains or Tube can be fined up to £6,400 – with the rules going into effect at 4 a.m. tomorrow.
Those who do not wear masks under the new Government regulations will be fined £ 200.
A second offense would cause the penalty to skyrocket to £400, with £800 on the third up to a maximum fine of £6,400.
Mask must also be worn in the hairdresser’s, nail salons, banks and post offices in the UK.
But they will not be required in hospitality establishments such as bars and restaurants or entertainment venues such as cinemas and theatres.
International travel rules have also been tightened to prevent the spread of Omicron.
Ten more countries are on the red list, with only British or Irish citizens and UK residents allowed to enter the UK from these destinations.
Anyone doing so must self-isolate in a Government hotel for 10 days upon arrival in the UK.
Passengers arriving in the UK from non-redlist countries after 4am today must take a PCR test for two days and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
And self-isolation rules will be reintroduced for contacts of people who tested positive for Omicron.
Those who contacted someone received the new variant will have to self-isolate for 10 days even if they have been vaccinated.
The new curbs will be reviewed in three weeks as scientists scramble to learn more about Omicron.
MPs will vote on new restrictions in the next few days.
Boris Johnson reassured the nation that the rules were “temporary” in a speech on Saturday night.
They will be reviewed in three weeks.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam describes this variant as a “new baby”, warning scientists around the world are still concerned.
He told the nation at a Downing Street briefing: “It’s always been the case that at some point we’re going to get a variant that worries us more.
“We’re at that point with Omicron.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/16887873/three-weeks-save-christmas-omicron-covid/ Three weeks to save Christmas – everything you can and can’t do TODAY amid the spread of Omicron