The Prime Minister announced yesterday that a number of measures are being brought in to control the spread of the Omicron variant. Whilst we do not yet know the exact severity of Omicron, it has become increasingly clear that it is growing much faster than the Delta variant, with 568 confirmed cases in the UK, and the true number certain to be much higher. Hospitalisations in South Africa are doubling every week and the view of most scientists and Government advisors is that we cannot afford to be complacent and risk an exponential growth in cases here.
Thus it has been announced we are moving to Plan B which should slow the spread of the virus and buy ourselves time to progress with the booster programme and understand more about Omnicron.
Below are the measures being introduced. I’d always advise that you keep an eye on the www.gov.uk website, as this is where you can find up-to-date and more detailed guidance.
Firstly, from this Friday, the legal requirement to wear a face covering is being extended to most indoor venues, including cinemas and theatres. There will be exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising or singing.
Next, from Monday 13th December, employees are being asked to work from home if they can. I appreciate that this will be hard for many of you, however reducing contacts in the workplace will help slow transmission.
Finally, the NHS COVID Pass will be mandatory for entry into nightclubs, and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with over 10,000 people. A negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient for entry.
It is now absolutely crucial that we all get jabbed and boosted as soon as we are eligible to do so. 21 million boosters have already been administered, a number which includes 84% of all eligible people over 80. Medics and scientists across the globe are absolutely confident that the immune response will be stronger if you have been boosted and booking your booster is quick and simple.