England’s Covid rules are being strengthened in response to concern over the Omicron variant, chief Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
How are England’s rules changing?
- All contacts of suspected Omicron situations will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. This is in spite of of a person’s vaccination position
- Anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and will need to self-isolate until they have a negative consequence
- confront coverings will once again be compulsory in shops and on public transport
- The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the UK’s vaccine advisory body – will consider giving the booster vaccine “to as wide as group as possible”. It will also reduce the gap between the second measure and booster
The PM said the new rules were permanent and would be reviewed after three weeks.
Will there be another lockdown in the UK?
In September, the health secretary announced a list of measures which would come into place if the NHS came under “unsustainable pressure” in England. These include:
- introducing mandatory Covid passports
- making confront coverings compulsory again
- advising people to work from home
- communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and the need to behave more cautiously
However, these restrictions would only effectively bring England in line with stricter rules nevertheless in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The government has repeatedly said it has no plans for another lockdown.
What might cause a re-think?
No single event or set of figures would necessarily cause stricter measures, but the government said it would monitor:
- rapid rates of change in figures
- the overall state of the NHS
What’s the government’s current strategy?
What restrictions are in place in England?
What’s the situation in Wales?
- NHS Covid Pass needed for entry to nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls and many other indoor and outdoor events
- working from home wherever possible
- confront coverings compulsory on public transport, and in shops and hospitals
What’s the situation in Northern Ireland?
Ministers in Northern Ireland have strengthened their message on working from home, asking employees to do so “where they can” and businesses to sustain this “where possible”.
- strengthened arrangements for self-isolation for close contacts
- a return to mandatory social distancing
Other current restrictions include:
- a limit of 30 people from different households mixing indoors in domestic settings
- confront coverings compulsory in shops, indoor seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and some other settings
- vaccine passports for venues including nightclubs, bars and cinemas to be mandatory from 29 November
What restrictions are currently in place in Scotland?
- physical distancing rules keep in healthcare settings such as hospitals, GP surgeries and dentists, where the 2m (6ft) rule applies
- confront coverings nevertheless compulsory on public transport and inside places like shops
- all school staff and secondary pupils to use confront coverings indoors
- indoor hospitality venues must collect customer contact details
- working from home where possible
- all over-18s required to prove their vaccine position at nightclubs and other venues
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