Targeted measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant took effect from 4.00am today (Tuesday 30 November 2021).
They are being introduced by the government as a precaution while more information is gathered and assessed on how easily this new variant spreads and any possible effect on vaccines.
The measures are temporary and precautionary, and will be reviewed in three weeks:
- Face coverings are once again compulsory in shops and settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport in England, unless an individual is exempt.
- All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their age or vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace
- Anyone entering the UK must take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. The PCR tests are available online from private providers
- Secondary schools pupils in England are being strongly advised to wear face coverings in communal areas. Due to high COVID-19 case rates in the south west, secondary schools across the region have been following this guidance since half term. The guidance applies to staff and visitors at all schools and childcare settings