UK’s Johnson orders tighter restrictions, tells people to work from home as omicron spreads

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses reporters during his visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Greg Nash

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday enhanced COVID-19 restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the new omicron variant and prevent hospitalizations and deaths. 

As part of the new policies, Johnson encouraged people in England to work from home starting Monday. He also announced that, beginning next week, the government will require passes showing full vaccination to enter nightclubs and large events and mandate face masks in most indoor public spaces, according to The Associated Press

Johnson noted that the United Kingdom (U.K.) currently has 568 confirmed cases of the omicron variant but added that “the true number is certain to be much higher,” the AP reported.

“It has become increasingly clear that omicron is growing much faster than the previous delta variant and is spreading rapidly all around the world,” he said during a press conference, per the wire service. 

“Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of omicron could currently be between two and three days,” the prime minister added. 

Officials from the U.K. Health Security Agency predicted that the omicron variant would become Britain’s dominant strain of the virus within the next few weeks, according to the AP. 

On Wednesday, Britain reported 51,342 new confirmed daily COVID-19 cases in addition to 161 new deaths. Throughout the pandemic, Britain has recorded more than 146,000 deaths resulting from the coronavirus. Its death toll is among the worst in Europe, second only to Russia, the AP added.

Tags Boris Johnson Britain covid-19 restrictions COVID-19 variants England mask mandates Omicron variant United Kingdom vaccine mandates

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