British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced, Sunday, new measures to fight coronavirus after two cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the country.
The “temporary and precautionary” measures, taken to slow the spread of the variant, include mandatory masks in shops and PCR tests for travelers entering England. They will be reviewed in three weeks, alongside an expansion of the vaccine booster campaign.
Nevertheless, Johnson asserted that he is confident that this Christmas “will be considerably better than last Christmas”.
Asked about the prospect for this year’s festivities, Johnson said: “We continue to be in a strong position largely thanks to the speed of the vaccine rollout, another booster rollout and I think I’m going to stick with the formula I’ve used before, which is I’m pretty confident to absolutely confident this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas.”
The measures announced fall short of the government’s plan B, which involves advice to work from home and the use of vaccine passports.
Amid mounting global concern over Omicron, named a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, the prime minister set out a series of steps the UK is taking to maximize its defense against Covid-19.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the prime minister stated that anyone arriving in England will be asked to take a PCR test for Covid-19 on the second day and must self-isolate until they provide a negative test. He also added that the rules on face masks in shops and on public transport in England will also be tightened.