BORIS Johnson has announced he is introducing new travel restrictions in the UK and those entering the country must take PCR tests, in response to the new Omicron Covid variant.
The PM announced the news during a Downing Street press conference today, after two cases of the concerning new Omicron variant were detected in the UK.
He also announced that England will crack down on face mask rules making them mandatory in shops and on public transport – a measure which Scotland has had in place for several months.
The new restrictions mean that Omicron contacts will have to self-isolate and new arrivals will have to quarantine until they test negative for coronavirus, but the measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will now face travel restrictions from Sunday, when they will join South Africa and five other neighbouring nations on England’s red list.
The travel restrictions are the same as the new testing regime that Scotland has said it is also adopting.
Mr Johnson said the measures are “temporary and precautionary”, but those who are contacts with a suspected case of the new variant will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
He said: “We need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more.
“First, we need to slow down the seeding of the variant in this country, we need to buy time for our scientists to understand exactly what we’re dealing with, and for us to get more people vaccinated, and above all to get more people boosted.
“We will also go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport,”
It comes as two cases of Omicron were confirmed in England today.
The UK Health Security Agency confirmed the cases, which are both believed to be connected and linked to travel to southern Africa, after genomic sequencing overnight.
The individuals and their households were ordered into self-isolation and targeted testing was being carried out in areas where they are thought to have been infectious.