New Covid measures announced for England

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People successful England are being asked to enactment from location again and vaccine passports are being introduced for crowded venues, arsenic portion of caller rules to bounds the dispersed of Omicron.

Boris Johnson announced the authorities was moving to Plan B successful England - its back-up program of other Covid rules.

From Friday, look masks volition beryllium compulsory successful much nationalist places including theatres and cinemas.

And from Monday, radical volition beryllium urged to enactment from location wherever possible.

The NHS Covid Pass - wherever radical amusement their vaccine presumption oregon that they person tested antagonistic - volition besides beryllium mandatory successful nightclubs and crowded venues.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street property conference: "It is present the proportionate and the liable happening to determination to Plan B successful England."

He said portion we are inactive learning astir Omicron, and the "picture whitethorn get better", it could pb to a large emergence successful hospitalisations and sadly successful deaths.

The caller rules person been announced connected the aforesaid time that quality headlines person been dominated by the enactment implicit the Downing Street Christmas enactment astatine the tallness of lockdown rules past December.

Government advisor Allegra Stratton - who was seen with different No 10 unit joking astir the enactment successful a leaked video from past twelvemonth - has resigned, and Mr Johnson apologised for the video, though said helium had been repeatedly told determination had been nary party.

There are presently 568 confirmed cases of Omicron successful the UK, figures show - though scientists and Mr Johnson said the existent full is apt to beryllium higher.

What is Plan B?

The government's program B - which was unveiled successful September - is aimed astatine stopping the NHS coming nether unsustainable pressure.

The measures conscionable announced are:

  • People urged to enactment from location wherever possible, from Monday
  • Face masks to beryllium required successful much nationalist settings specified arsenic theatres and cinemas - but not erstwhile eating, drinking, exercising oregon singing - from this Friday
  • Vaccine passports volition beryllium required for visitors to nightclubs, indoor seated venues with much than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with much than 4,000 radical and immoderate venue with much than 10,000 people. Lateral travel tests tin besides beryllium utilized to beryllium entry.

Scientists judge Omicron could dispersed much easy than Delta, and could out-compete Delta to go the ascendant variant successful the UK.

But overmuch is inactive unknown, and it could inactive instrumentality weeks to recognize however terrible unwellness from the variant is and what it means for the effectiveness of vaccines.

Earlier, authorities technological advisor Prof Neil Ferguson said telling radical to enactment from location would mean much clip to springiness booster jabs.

He said the variant was apt to overtake Delta to go ascendant successful the UK earlier Christmas.

But existing vaccines should inactive support radical from terrible unwellness if they get Omicron, the World Health Organization has said.

The measures introduced are not astir stopping the dispersed of Omicron oregon adjacent reducing the fig of cases being seen - they are insufficient for that.Instead, it is astir slowing the spread. The large interest is simply a immense surge of cases that leads to a question of infirmary admissions that could overwhelm the NHS.There are suggestions Omicron is starring to milder illness. There is logic successful that arsenic reinfections oregon infections station vaccination are little apt to pb to superior illness.But if infections emergence rapidly capable determination is inactive the hazard of infirmary cases rising. A variant that causes fractional the magnitude of superior unwellness volition pb to much radical ending up successful infirmary if corruption rates much than double.So the anticipation is that these measures volition flatten and hold the peak. That volition let much boosters to spell into arms - and the grounds that is emerging connected vaccine effectiveness against the caller variant suggests that volition marque an important quality to the dispersed of the virus.

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