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Covid: New rules explained as Omicron strain reaches UK

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Boris Johnson is reversing Covid measures in response to dangerous new strains (Photo: PA/Getty/Rex)

Mandatory mask-wearing and self-isolation periods return to the UK as part of a range of measures to contain the spread of the dangerous new Covid strain.

The new rule was issued by Boris Johnson after the UK Health Security Agency confirmed the first two cases of Omicron were found in Essex and Nottingham.

This strain was quickly classified as a strain of concern by the World Health Organization because it spreads very quickly and may partially reduce the protection of existing vaccines.

Prime Minister Johnson held a press conference on Downing Street on Saturday night and took a number of new steps to respond to the growing threat.

But he failed to reintroduce telecommuting guidelines or extend the use of vaccine passports.

Ministers also said the country is a bit far from returning to full lockdown and reassured people that Christmas celebrations can continue.

Temporary and preventive measures are reviewed after 3 weeks.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules.

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The government is taking some measures, such as a face covering (Picture: PA) Is the mask mandatory again?

Prime Minister Johnson has confirmed that masks will be compulsory again in shops and public transport.

Covering your face has already been recommended in crowded environments in the summer, but hasn’t been a legal requirement for months.

This will change in response to the new strain, and Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed that the new rules will come into effect on Tuesday.

This has brought England back to the same level as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where masks are mandatory.

It means that people who refuse to wear masks in designated places risk being fined by the police.

Javid said he expects mask wear to increase as people become more vigilant about the new strain of threat.

The new face covering rules are currently not expected to apply in hospitality settings such as pubs and restaurants.

It will be legally mandatory to wear a mask in shops and public transport (Picture: Getty)

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What are the new self-isolation rules?

Due to the so-called pingdemic, the self-isolation period for close contacts of COVID-19 has been abolished in the summer.

But now, people who learn that they have been in contact with someone with the omicron mutation must self-isolate at home for 10 days, even if they have been double immunized.

This is accompanied by surge testing in the area where the anomaly was found.

Can I still travel to other countries? Travel rules have been described as a blow to the industry (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

International travel has become much more difficult in most parts of Africa and new rules have been introduced for all passengers.

Anyone arriving in the UK must undergo a PCR test on or before the second day in the UK and must self-isolate until negative.

Travelers from countries not previously included on the risk list could take a cheaper rapid side flow test at home.

Javid has not confirmed when these new rules will come into effect as the government continues to work with the mandated parliament on the timeline.

However, according to a message in the passenger locator form section of the government website, the requirements change from 4am on Tuesday.

Many people currently abroad are speculating about what to do when they return to the UK.

Travel restrictions have already been put in place to slow the spread of this strain. From 4am on Sunday, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibi, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola have been added to the UK Travel Red List.

This means that people returning from the country will have to pay to enter quarantine hotels.

Should I get a booster jab? A booster jab for the younger crowd (Photo: Getty)

In the coming weeks, it is expected that more people will receive additional vaccines to boost immunity levels during the winter.

The UK has grown its population by 16.8 million so far, but the rollout has focused on older people and more vulnerable groups.

Prime Minister Johnson said more than six million more attacks would be carried out in the UK over the next three weeks.

The Minister of Health has asked the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations to consider providing booster doses to as wide a group as possible and closing the gap between people’s second and third doses.

This could mean that everyone over the age of 18 is invited to receive a booster 5 months after the second injection.

MORE: Returning to work after shielding: I was convinced that if I catch Corona, I will die.

Added: Face masks are returning from stores and public transport as new strains arrive in the UK.

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