UK tightens COVID-19 restrictions following omicron variant infections

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is tightening COVID-19 restrictions after two omicron variant cases were found in the country on Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a press conference Saturday that the new restrictions will last for three weeks while scientists learn about how quickly the new variant can spread and if the vaccine is effective against it, CBS News reported

The “targeted and precautionary measures” include mandating that people wear masks on public transportation and in stores. 

Those traveling internationally also must get a COVID-19 PCR test the second day after entering the U.K. and quarantine until the test comes back negative, according to Johnson.

If someone tests positive for the omicron variant, all close contacts will be mandated to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. 

Johnson also said the U.K. will focus on offering COVID-19 booster vaccines to those who have already been fully vaccinated. 

​​”Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defenses,” he said. “From today we’re going to boost the booster campaign.”

The U.K. also restricted flights to and from four additional countries in southern Africa, the region where the variant was first detected, to attempt to mitigate the spread. Such restrictions were previously applied to six countries in the area on Friday.

The two omicron cases in the U.K. were found in the English cities of Chelmsford and Nottingham, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. He added that both affected households were under quarantine. 

Testing and contract tracing are underway to determine if the variant continued to spread beyond those two cases.

Tags Boris Johnson Chelmsford covid-19 restrictions COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 variants England Nottingham Omicron variant Sajid Javid United Kingdom

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